Paper Cut Herpes


Have you ever experienced a paper cut? It’s a common occurrence that can be annoying but usually heals quickly. However, in some rare cases, a seemingly harmless paper cut can lead to unexpected complications. In this article, we’ll discuss a fascinating case of “paper cut herpes” and explore the unique circumstances that led to this uncommon infection.

Case Report

A 5-year-old girl visited her pediatrician with swelling and blistering on her left index finger. Surprisingly, this condition was a result of a paper cut she had sustained ten days earlier. The cut, located on the palmar surface of the middle phalanx, seemed innocent at first. However, after swimming in the ocean and a river, the wound became inflamed, and blisters began to develop.

Initially, the patient was prescribed antibiotics for a presumed bacterial infection. However, her symptoms worsened, and additional lesions appeared. Eventually, the patient was diagnosed with herpetic whitlow, a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).


Herpetic whitlow is an infection that can occur on the hand or fingers due to exposure to HSV-1 or HSV-2. While it typically occurs through autoinoculation, this case was unique because the patient contracted the infection from close contact with her sister who had a cold sore.

The progression of herpetic whitlow involves the appearance of fluid-filled vesicles on an erythematous base, which eventually crust and desquamate. The infection is usually self-limiting, and prompt diagnosis is crucial to avoid unnecessary antibiotic treatment.

Treatment and Complications

Treatment for herpetic whitlow depends on the severity of the infection. In mild cases, no treatment may be necessary, as the infection will resolve on its own. However, systemic antiviral medications, such as acyclovir, can help shorten the duration of the infection and prevent the development of additional lesions.

Complications of herpetic whitlow can include bacterial superinfections, nail dystrophy, and even rare cases of meningitis or encephalitis. Incision and drainage are not recommended, as they can increase the risk of complications.


In conclusion, “paper cut herpes” may sound unusual, but it serves as a reminder that seemingly innocuous injuries can sometimes lead to unexpected complications. Understanding the natural progression of herpetic whitlow and maintaining a high level of suspicion can help healthcare providers accurately diagnose and treat this condition. If you want to learn more about infectious diseases and stay informed about health-related topics, visit Quill And Fox.


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