Neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is usually acquired at birth, although a few infants have had findings suggestive of intrauterine infection. We describe 13 babies who had clinical manifestations of intrauterine HSV infection, including skin lesions and scars at birth (12), chorioretinitis (eight), microcephaly (seven), hydranencephaly (five), and microphthalmia (two). All infants had combinations of these defects. Infection was proved by viral isolation in each case; all isolates were HSV-2. Two infants died during the first week of life; 10 of the surviving infants had severe neurologic sequelae, and one infant was blind. Four mothers experienced an apparent primary genital HSV infection, and one had recurrent infection, at varying times during gestation. The remaining women denied a history of symptoms of genital HSV infection. These findings indicate that intrauterine HSV infection can occur as a consequence of either primary or recurrent maternal infection and has severe consequences for the fetus. © 1987 The C. V. Mosby Company.