Birth-acquired herpes - Symptom
HSV; Congenital herpes; Herpes - congenital
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.
Herpes infection may also spread throughout the body (called disseminated herpes). In this type, the herpes virus can affect many different parts of the body.
- Herpes infection in the brain is called herpes encephalitis
- The liver, lungs, and kidneys may also be involved
- There may or may not be blisters on the skin
Newborn infants with herpes that has spread to the brain or other parts of the body are often very sick. Symptoms include:
- Bleeding easily
- Breathing difficulties
- Blue appearance (cyanosis)
- Flaring of the nostrils
- Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
- Short periods without breathing (apneic episodes)
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Poor feeding
- Skin lesions, fluid-filled blisters
Herpes that is caught in the period shortly after birth has symptoms similar to those of birth-acquired herpes.
Intrauterine herpes can cause:
- Eye disease, such as inflammation of the retina (chorioretinitis)
- Severe brain damage
- Skin sores (lesions)
Signs and tests:
Tests for birth-acquired herpes include:
Additional tests that may be done if the baby is very sick include:
- Reviewed last on: 9/16/2010
- 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.
Red Book: 2009 Report on The Committee on Infectious Diseases, American Academy of Pediatrics.
Cernik C, Gallina K, Brodell RT. The treatment of herpes simplex infections: An evidence-based review. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(11):1137-1144.
Hollier LM, Wendel GD. Third trimester antiviral prophylaxis for preventing maternal genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) recurrences and neonatal infection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;23(1):CD004946.
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