Neonatal herpes simplex virus infections. Presentation and management.

Academic Article


  • Neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections are recognized to be severe because of their association with significant morbidity and mortality. Through ongoing studies performed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Collaborative Antiviral Study Group, the presentation, natural history, outcome and value of antiviral chemotherapy have been considered. Infants developing neonatal HSV infections can be classified according to the extent of disease, disseminated or localized. Localized infection can be subdivided into either central nervous system (CNS) disease, occurring in 35% of infected infants, or skin, eye and mouth (SEM) disease, in 41% of infants. Disseminated disease accounts for 24% of neonatal HSV infection. Therapeutic outcome depends upon disease classification. Administration of either 15 or 30 mg/kg/day of vidarabine resulted in significantly decreased mortality for infants with life-threatening disseminated and CNS disease as compared to placebo recipients. Approximately one-third of children developed normally following disseminated disease or CNS infection. When disease was localized to the SEM, no death occurred, and 88% of treated infants developed normally. While these data indicate that therapy is effective for management of infants with neonatal HSV infection, improvements are necessary. Hopefully, a study in progress will demonstrate improved outcome with acyclovir treatment.
  • Keywords

  • Acyclovir, Central Nervous System Diseases, Clinical Trials as Topic, Female, Herpes Genitalis, Herpes Simplex, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Keratitis, Dendritic, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Recurrence, Risk, Skin Diseases, Infectious, Stomatitis, Herpetic, Vidarabine
  • Author List

  • Whitley RJ
  • Start Page

  • 426
  • End Page

  • 432
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 5 Suppl