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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Carriers Without Symptoms May Still Spread Herpes

March 23, 2000|From Times staff and wire reports

A new study of people with genital herpes has found that carriers can be contagious even if they have none of the symptoms of the sexually transmitted disease.

Nearly 25% of Americans and up to 18% of Europeans carry the herpes virus, but only 10% to 25% of carriers say they have had the genital ulcers, blisters or crusts that are the hallmarks of the disease.

Until now, many doctors had assumed that people could spread the disease only when those sores were present. But the University of Washington study appearing in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine casts doubt on that notion.

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