Herpesvirus infections in the fetus and neonate: Epidemiology and clinical manifestations
The herpesvirus family includes several pathogens that can cause maternal and, therefore, fetal and neonatal infections. This review focuses on the following members of the herpesvirus family and their role in congenital and neonatal infections: herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). Epidemiology, modes of transmission, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, outcome, and methods of prevention are discussed. Congenital infection and disease can occur secondary to maternal VZV, CMV, and, less commonly, HSV infection. Neonatal disease can result from infection with HSV, VZV, and CMV. The role of EBV and HHV-6 in congenital and neonatal infections remains unclear, and more studies are needed to clarify the perinatal manifestations of these agents. Careful follow-up of infants with congenital or neonatal herpesvirus infection is important and includes serial audiologic, ophthalmologic, and neurodevelopmental assessments. The clinician needs to be aware of the possibility of late manifestations.
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