A case of primary herpes of the head and neck is presented. The exact source of infection and the precise diagnosis proved difficult to establish, but evidence tended to support a diagnosis of varicella zoster infection as opposed to a herpes simplex infection, though a dual infection was not ruled out.
Herpes simplex has specific clinical features which usually make its distinction from varicella zoster clear cut. In this case we relied heavily on laboratory investigations to improve the accuracy of our diagnosis since the clinical characteristics were blurred.
Unlike varicella zoster there has been little written about herpes simplex infections specifically affecting the ear, face and neck.