[Question #3216] Herpetic Whitlow

37 months ago
Good Morning,

Is it possible to contract herpetic whitlow from touching, rubbing and massaging a genital area of a person, of which I do not know the sexual health status of, while having an open cut on the fingers?  The contact was probably 15-20 seconds. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
37 months ago
Is it possible? Yes.  Is it likely, not really.  The contact was very very short that you are describing.  The person you touched would have to be first infected with herpes and then be shedding virus in those 15-20 second and have that virus come in direct contact with your finger.  If you acquired herpetic whitlow, I would expect blistering on the finger that is tender.  If that happens, it should happen within 2-10 days from the contact.

Terri
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37 months ago
Thank you for your response, The cut was no longer bleeding but was still fresh.  The act was stroking a penis for 15-20 seconds. The individual was a CSW. There were no visible signs of herpes but I know that doesn't mean much.  Should I be concerned?  Also, should I cover my thumb for the time being?  Thanks.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
37 months ago
No, I don't believe that you should be concerned.  Even if this person had whitlow, fingers do not shed virus when no sores are present - the skin is too thick.  I am not concerned about you.

Terri
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37 months ago
I was the one doing the rubbing/stroking. Sorry for the confusion.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
37 months ago
Oh, I'm sorry for the confusion.  So the CSW was a male and you stroked his penis, right?  I still do not think there is risk here.  Just keep an eye on your fingers until 10 days have passed and if nothing shows up, take it off your worry list.

Terri
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