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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 7, Issue 3, Pages 209-212
Case Report

Herpes Simplex Mastitis: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Holly Brown, Paul Kneafsey, and Amar Kureishi

Department of Histopathology, and Department of Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Foothills Hospital and the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Received 3 October 1995; Accepted 20 December 1995

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The most common sites of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection are around the oral cavity and the genitalia. However, HSV can infect any skin or mucous membrane surface. One uncommon site of HSV infection is the breast. Reports of herpetic breast infections are predominantly cases of transmission from a systemically HSV-infected neonate to the mother during breast-feeding. A review of the literature identified only six reports suggesting HSV breast lesions acquired by means other than through an infected infant. Of these, only one report suggests HSV transmission to the breast from a male sexual partner. A second case of clinically unsuspected symptomatic herpes mastitis presumably acquired from sexual contact in a 46-year-old woman is presented. Herpes simplex type 1 was isolated by using polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymerization techniques. The purpose of this report is to alert physicians to HSV mastitis.