How is neonatal varicella acquired?

Updated: Nov 30, 2018
  • Author: Kirsten A Bechtel, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

If the mother develops varicella within 5 days before or 2 days after delivery, the baby is exposed to the secondary viremia of the mother. The baby transplacentally acquires the virus but acquires no protective antibodies because of insufficient time for antibodies to develop in the mother. In these babies, neonatal varicella is likely to be severe and disseminated. Hemorrhagic lesions of the liver and lungs characterize this potentially fatal disease.


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