HerpAlert, which is a diagnostics website, saw the same situation during the Coachella event – 114 herpes cases were reported. In the first weekend of Coachella, there were 250 cases being reported.
On any given day, HerpAlert sees 12 cases from South California.
According to HerpAlert representatives, the herpes virus is extremely common, and festivals are a great area in which people infected with it have an outbreak and infect those who are not infected.
Alexandra Harbuska, spokesperson for HerpAlert, said at music festivals like Coachella, people are in the hot sun, drinking alcohol and eating foods not good for the body and not getting enough sleep. This combination is ideal for a herpes outbreak. She said the virus can be transmitted by sexual contact, skin-to-skin contact or sharing things such as lipstick, drinks or cigarettes, which are often shared at these kinds of events.
Despite the stigma attached to the virus, herpes is extremely common and treatable.
Harbuska said people should understand the commonality of the virus and understand it’s just a skin disease. While it’s possible to get it from a one-night stand, it’s also common to see it spread from one spouse to another or a family member kissing a child.
It’s important for people to know they have the virus, which can only be done by having a doctor testing them for it. They also need to learn what they can about the virus so they can avoid transmitting it to someone else.
Both music festivals – Coachella and Stagecoach were held on the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio. Coachella was a pop and alternative music festivals; Stagecoach was an amalgamation of artists.
HerpesAlert, which is a diagnostics website, lets users upload pictures of areas that are concerning. If a doctor confirms a person has the herpes virus, they will get a prescription within a couple of hours.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
Here’s what we've been up to recently.