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January 16, 1967

Neonatal Herpes Simplex Infection: Role of Genital Infection in Mother as the Source of Virus in the Newborn

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pediatrics and preventive medicine (Dr. Nahmias), gynecology and obstetrics (Dr. Josey), and pathology (Dr. Naib), Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta.

JAMA. 1967;199(3):164-168. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120030068010

Disseminated herpetic infection occurred in a newborn infant girl, delivered by cesarean section, who survived after a stormy course. The source of her infection was found to be her mother who had a lesion of the cervix resembling invasive cervical carcinoma. Viral and serological studies confirmed the presence in both mother and infant of a primary infection with herpes simplex virus. The genital tract of mothers of infants with suspected herpetic infection should be studied carefully to ascertain a likely source of neonatal infection. Cesarean section should be considered in pregnant women with primary herpetic genital infections close to delivery, particularly if the membranes are still intact.