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May 12, 1978

Herpes Encephalitis and Pregnancy

JAMA. 1978;239(19):1960. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280460028012

To the Editor.—  There is a dearth of follow-up data about women who have suffered the loss of an infant stricken with herpes encephalitis. Nahmias and Visintine1 state, "Although theoretically possible, according to present knowledge, no instance has been reported in which HSV [herpes simplex virus] infection occurred in more than one offspring of successive pregnancies in the same mother."A review of the literature failed to show any documentation of normal offspring in successive pregnancies. Correspondence with a number of neonatologists engaged in research in the field, obstetricians, and infectious disease experts has been essentially nonproductive.Four personal leads have hinted at some of the difficulties: sterilization procedure, two divorces, and decision not to get pregnant again. Exploration by a colleague unearthed a case of a woman who lost a child in 1958, had two subsequent cesarean section deliveries, but was lost to follow-up.The loss of an