Thoughts about “Countering Creeping Confusion”

by Richard Ratzan, M.D.

Dr. Ratzan was a Classics major at Trinity College whose early publication as a medical student was on the Greek word for herpes (see reference # 8 in his attached letter).

THE EDITOR kindly asked me to comment on an unusual paper suggesting we rename Herpes virus “Habita virus”, a paper imaginatively conceived, adroitly executed and very well written.[^1] In it, the authors evince four reasons to support their suggestion: lack of congruence between the etymological history of “herpes” and its dermatological appearance; sociological and psychological stigma; potential confusion concerning first the different herpetic diseases and second an unrelated virus, Hepeviridae, a virus associated with diseases of the liver.

Full text of Dr. Ratzan’s letter: Countering Herpes- A Commentary

Dr. Ratzan’s 1970 Letter to the NEJM: Ratzan NEJM

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The Online Journal of Community and Person-Centered Dermatology (OJCPCD) is a free, full text, open-access, online publication that addresses all aspects of skin disease that concern patients, their families, and practitioners. ​It was founded in 2012 by Dr. David J. Elpern, M.D. in Williamstown, MA. with technical help from Inez Tan.

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