Birth-acquired herpes

Alternative Names

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:

Symptoms

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:

Treatment

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.

Expectations (prognosis)

Infants with systemic herpes or encephalitis often do poorly, despite antiviral medications and early treatment.

Review

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

Congenital herpes

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.