These two conditions are caused by different viruses and have distinct modes of transmission.
Herpes zoster, including Herpes zoster oticus, is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which primarily causes chickenpox during the initial infection.
Herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are the viruses responsible for genital herpes, which can be sexually transmitted.
Both viruses are able to lie dormant within the body and flare up. Herpes zoster typically only flares up once in a lifetime, while herpes simplex can reoccur often.
Although both cause a rash, a herpes zoster rash usually develops on one side of the body. Conversely, the herpes simplex rash develops in or around the mouth and genitals.
To treat both types, a doctor will prescribe antiviral medications.7