HSV; Congenital herpes; Herpes – congenital
Definition of Birth-acquired herpes
Birth-acquired herpes is a herpes virus infection that an infant gets (acquires) at the time of birth.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Newborn infants can become infected with herpes virus:
Herpes may only appear as a skin infection. Small, fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) may appear. These blisters rupture, crust over, and finally heal, often leaving a mild scar.
Signs and tests
Tests for birth-acquired herpes include:
Herpes virus infections in infants are generally treated with medicine given through a vein (intravenous). Acyclovir is the most common antiviral medicine used for this purpose. The baby may need to take the medicine for several weeks.
Infants with systemic herpes or encephalitis often do poorly, despite antiviral medications and early treatment.
Sameer Patel, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/16/2010