Two years ago a woman walked into a Sephora cosmetics store in Los Angeles to try on lipstick and, she says, walked out with herpes. This according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Oct. 26, in which the woman claims Sephora "failed to clearly warn customers about the risk of getting oral herpes from trying on lipstick." According to the complaint, the woman had never had a cold sore until she tried out the sample lipstick at the store. Now she is suing for emotional distress, the result of having an "incurable lifelong affliction," NBC News reports.
Dr. Suman Radhaskrishna, the chair of infectious disease control at Dignity Health, says the woman's case might be difficult to win because the oral herpes virus likely wouldn't survive long enough on a moist surface to be passed from one person to another. "It has to happen pretty much consecutively," Radhaskrishna says. But the Public Health Agency of Canada claims that the HSV virus can potentially survive for eight weeks on a dry, inanimate surface, while a review of studies in BMC Infectious Diseases determined that HSV type 1 can last outside of the human body for up to seven days, Forbes reports. Sephora hasn't commented about the lawsuit.