Herpes gladiatorum

"Herpes gladiatorum" or "herpes rugbiorum" or "scrumpox"
(after rugby football), or "wrestler's herpes" or "mat pox" (after wrestling)

Herpes gladiatorum refers to a herpes skin infection that occurs in adolescence among wrestlers but it is also common in other contact sports. It usually occurs on the head, most commonly the jaw area, the neck, chest, face, stomach, and legs.


Herpes gladiatorum is transmitted by direct contact with skin lesions caused by a herpes simplex virus and can easily be spread during tight wrestling holds. This type of virus may be transmitted even if the symptoms are not yet present (asymptomatic shedding). Some people may not recognize they have have herpes gladiatorum because they have very mild symptoms. Good personal hygiene and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all equipment are essential to keep it from spreading. Infected individuals should not participate in practice or competition until their lesions have healed.

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