Birth-acquired herpes - Treatment
HSV; Congenital herpes; Herpes - congenital
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.
Other therapy is often needed to treat the effects of herpes infection, such as shock or seizures. Often, because these babies are very ill, treatment is done in an intensive care unit.
Infants with systemic herpes or encephalitis often do poorly, despite antiviral medications and early treatment.
In infants with skin disease, the vesicles may come back repeatedly even after treatment is finished. These recurrences put them at risk for learning disabilities, and may need to be treated.
- Bacterial or fungal infection of skin lesions
- Developmental delay
- Excessive bleeding, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
- Eye problems (chorioretinitis, keratitis)
- Gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea
- Liver failure
- Lung problems including pneumonia or pneumonitis
- Brain and nervous system (neurological) problems
- Respiratory distress
- Skin lesions
Calling your health care provider:
If your baby has any symptoms of birth-acquired herpes, including skin lesions alone, have the baby seen by your health care provider promptly.
- 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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