Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in the newborn carries a high mortality rate and can result in lifelong neurologic impairment. The severity of HSV infection in the newborn has always dictated conservative management when prodromal symptoms or active genital lesions (or those suggestive of genital herpes) are present during labor and delivery. The risk of intrapartum infection, however, is related to the presence or absence of maternal immunity (neutralizing antibody) to HSV. The most significant risk of transmission is in first-episode primary infections with active lesions at delivery. Recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committees on Infectious Diseases and the Fetus and Newborn use rapid serologic and virologic screening in the management of asymptomatic infants born to mothers with active genital herpes. The revised guidelines highlight infants at greatest risk for HSV disease but do not apply to asymptomatic infants born to mothers with a history of HSV but no genital lesions at delivery. The current guidelines also stipulate that maternal serologic screening and molecular assays for HSV in newborn blood and cerebrospinal fluid must be available and reported in a timely fashion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health