Neonatal Herpes Infection: A Review

Leslie A. Parker, MSN, RNC, NNP; Sheryl J. Montrowl, MSN, RNC, NNP


NAINR. 2004;4(1) 

In This Article


Despite advances in the management of neonatal HSV infection, no progress has been made in decreasing the time interval between onset of symptoms and initiation of treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment of the infection can have a significant effect on the mortality and morbidity of this disease. A delay in diagnosis may occur because of a negative maternal history, as 60 to 80% of women who acquire primary HSV infection during pregnancy are asymptomatic at delivery. Delay in diagnosis also occurs since symptoms of HSV can often resemble those of neonatal bacterial sepsis. Clinicians caring for newborns either in the hospital or in outpatient settings must have a high index of suspicion for neonatal HSV infection to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment and therefore positively impact the outcome of neonatal HSV.


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