Herpes simplex virus may cause serious infections in neonates. In case of foetal infection in the first trimenon, abortions, stillbirth, prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation (not obligatory) and various malformations may result. Neonatal HSV infection is mostly the consequence of intrapartum virus acquisition during passage through the birth canal. The infection is mostly localised on the skin, at the eyes or the mouth or disseminated with or without HSV meningoencephalitis. It is difficult to establish the diagnosis, because neonatal herpes disease in the early stage is not easy to distinguish from other diseases in the newborn such as RDS, NEC or ICH. Antiviral therapy with aciclovir is the treatment of choice and seems to improve the outcome of neonatal herpes. Prognosis depends on early therapy. Treatment should be initiated in relation to clinical findings, because available diagnostic techniques do not always permit an early detection of the disease.
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