Medical Microbiology and Immunology

, Volume 196, Issue 2, pp 89–94 | Cite as

Herpes simplex and varicella-zoster virus infections during pregnancy: current concepts of prevention, diagnosis and therapy. Part 1: Herpes simplex virus infections

  • A. SauerbreiEmail author
  • P. Wutzler
Original Investigation


Primary herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection may lead to severe illness in pregnancy and may be associated with transplacental virus transmission and fetal infection. The consequences may be abortion, stillbirth and congenital malformations. In neonates, the clinical findings after intrauterine HSV infection are characterized by skin lesions, diseases of the eye and neurologic damage. Herpes genitalis of pregnant women at the time of labor may result in life-threatening neonatal herpes. Currently, neither active nor passive immunization is available to prevent HSV infections during pregnancy and in the newborn infant. Therefore, antiviral treatment using aciclovir and/or valaciclovir must be considered in all primary episodes of genital herpes as well as in neonates who show signs of either infection. Clinical herpes lesions of the genitalia and/or positive test for virus detection at the time of delivery are an indication for cesarean section. However, this surgical intervention may be reduced by suppressive treatment of recurrent genital herpes with aciclovir or valaciclovir.


Herpes simplex virus infection Pregnancy Neonate Prevention Diagnosis Therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Virology and Antiviral TherapyFriedrich-Schiller University of JenaJenaGermany

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