Why is the rate of intrauterine and perinatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection highest in neonates exposed to primary maternal infections?

Updated: Feb 27, 2019
  • Author: J Michael Klatte, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Congenital herpes simplex virus infection is a very rare entity and has been infrequently reported in the literature. [51, 52] Manifestations can include skin lesions and scars, chorioretinitis, and microcephaly.

Most neonatal herpes simplex virus infections occur at the time of delivery through the genital tract of a woman asymptomatically shedding virus. History of previous infection and presence of maternal antibody are protective, as approximately half of neonates exposed to maternal primary herpes simplex virus infection contract the virus as opposed to less than 5% of those exposed to recurrent herpes simplex virus disease. [19, 3, 4]


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