Scrum pox

This condition is usually caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is contagious, and outbreaks in sports clubs are not uncommon. Scrum pox is usually associated with rugby football; the presence of skin lesions combined with the abrasive effects of facial stubble whilst scrumming facilitate transmission of infection. Other sports associated with this condition include judo and wrestling. Infection may also be spread by sharing towels or equipment.

Treatment may require the use of an antiviral agent available as a cream or tablets, which would be prescribed by a doctor. Prevention depends on the exclusion of infected players until the condition has resolved.

Bacterial and fungal infections may also be spread in a similar way and will require assessment by your doctor and treatment with appropriate medication.

Ref : Br Med J 1979 Dec 22-29;2(6205) Scrum-pox caused by herpes simplex virus.Shute P, Jeffries DJ, Maddocks AC

Further information

This article published on
26 January 2006

Next review date 1/1/2013


Sports injuries

Areaof the body

Skin and hair

Male or female?


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