Cold sores on the lips and inside the mouth, both caused by the herpes simplex virus, rank among the most uncomfortable and embarrassing skin ailments. The virus, transferred from person to person by contact with saliva, may have more modes of transmission than previously thought, according to the Hohenstein Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology (IHB), Boenningheim, Germany. Testing at the institute shows that herpes simplex adheres strongly to textile fibers, which means that the virus could be transferred via hand towels, napkins, wash cloths and dish cloths. The virus DNA remained on some fabric test swatches even after laundering
The advanced testing process makes it possible to determine whether other viruses may adhere to textiles and transmit diseases through textile products. The implications for medical and health products, such as hospital gowns, bedding and towels, is obvious; however, the testing techniques also make possible the development of new technologies that make fabric resistant to viral adhesion. For more information about the research, visit www.hohenstein.de.