INTRODUCTION: Little is known about the role of herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 (HSV1) in the epidemiology of genital herpes in Canada. Data on herpes viral cultures for two consecutive years obtained from L’Hôpital Dr GL Dumont, which performs all the viral culture testing in New Brunswick, were reviewed. It was hypothesized that HSV1 was the main cause of genital herpes in New Brunswick.METHODS: Samples of genital origin sent to the laboratory for HSV culture testing between July 2006 and June 2008 were analyzed. Samples from an unspecified or a nongenital source were excluded from analysis. Multiple positive samples collected from the same patient were pooled into a single sample.RESULTS: HSV was isolated from 764 different patients. HSV1 was isolated in 62.6% of patients (male, 55%; female, 63.8%). HSV1 was isolated in 73.2% of patients 10 to 39 years of age and in 32% of patients ≥40 years of age. The difference in rates of HSV1 infection between the 10 to 39 years of age group and the ≥40 years of age group was statistically significant (P<0.001 [χ2]). In a similar Canadian study performed in Nova Scotia, HSV1 was recovered in 53.7% of positive cultures (male, 36.7%; female, 58.1%). The rates of HSV1 infection reported by this study and the present study were significantly different (P<0.001 [χ2] for male, P=0.012 for female).CONCLUSION: In New Brunswick, HSV1 is the dominant type of HSV isolated in samples collected from a genital site. Significant rate differences were demonstrated between the groups 10 to 39 years of age and ≥40 years of age.