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October 1992

Picture of the Month

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Neonatology (Drs Goel and Pleasure) and General Pediatrics (Dr Tunnessen), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Drs Goel, Pleasure, and Tunnessen).

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(10):1213-1214. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160220099031

Denouement and Discussion 

Neonatal Herpes Simplex Infections 

Transmission  As the incidence of genital herpes simplex infections increases in the general population, so does the incidence of neonatal infections with this virus. Neonatal herpes simplex infections are estimated to occur in 1 of every 5000 to 7500 live births in the United States.1Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections may be acquired by the fetus in utero, may be transmitted to the newborn intrapartum, or may be acquired postnatally. The mother is the source of the first two modes of infection, while contact with a maternal genital or nongenital site of infection transmitted by another individual may be the source in the postpartum period. Intrapartum transmission accounts for 85% to 90% of all cases. Herpes simplex virus type 2 is responsible for 70% to 80% of genital and neonatal infections; the remainder are caused by HSV type 1. Individuals with type 2

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