A high school wrestler learned about herpes the hard way recently, alleging to have acquired HSV during a state wrestling match.
“One California teen had the unthinkable happen to him when he somehow contracted the virus after a match on what had to be the dirtiest mat of all time.”
In truth, herpes gladiatorum is quite common and the mat didn’t need to be dirty at all; it was the wrestling opponent who passed HSV on; likely from simple oral herpes which, like other herpesviruses, can be intermittently contagious with or without symptoms.
It didn’t get a nickname like “matpox” for nothing. Nobody is making that much physical contact with other human beings without acquiring herpesviruses. We all carry a half a dozen of them eventually — generally in our mouths, but other places as well.
Fortunately, most people never see any herpes crop up because of it. Unfortunately, it also leads most people to think they aren’t contagious carriers of herpesviruses: they believe if they picked up the viruses, they’d also see some herpes show up. That’s only the case ~20% of the time.