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September 1973

Varicella, Herpes Zoster Infections, and Congenital Defects

Author Affiliations

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Arch Dermatol. 1973;108(3):427. doi:10.1001/archderm.1973.01620240073031

To the Editor.—  Several recent reports have attempted to link multiple abnormalities of infants to varicella infection of the mother during the early months of pregnancy.1-4 This is somewhat analogous to the congenital rubella syndrome.It is unusual for varicella to occur in pregnancy. Probably this is because so few women of the child-bearing age are still susceptible to infection with varicella virus.However, herpes zoster is not uncommon in such women. Since herpes zoster and varicella are caused by the same virus, it is evident that children born of mothers who had herpes zoster during the first trimester of pregnancy should be followed up and carefully examined immediately after birth.One authority has seen fit to advise therapeutic abortion in a mother who develops varicella during the early months of pregnancy5 because of reports of such congenital defects. It is only through careful follow up of

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