Skin

The skin is an important source of virus in diseases in which transmission is by direct contact via small abrasions, for example, molluscum contagiosum, warts, and genital herpes. Several poxviruses may be spread from animals to humans, and sometimes from humans to animals, by contact with skin lesions, for example, the viruses of coxpox, vaccinia, orf, and pseudocowpox. Although skin lesions are produced in several generalized diseases, virus is not shed from the maculopapular skin lesions of measles, nor from the rashes associated with picornavirus, togavirus, or flavivirus infections. Herpesvirus infections, on the other hand, produce vesicular lesions in which virus is plentiful in the fluid of the lesions. Even here, however, virus shed in saliva and aerosols is much more important, as far as transmission is concerned, than that shed via the skin lesions.

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