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October 1973

Fetal Consequences of Maternal Viral Infections in Pregnancy

Author Affiliations

Baltimore, Md
From the departments of pediatrics and gynecology and obstetrics, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1973;98(4):218-227. doi:10.1001/archotol.1973.00780020228002

There is an increasingly convincing body of evidence indicating that maternal viral infection may be either directly or indirectly incriminated as an etiologic factor in fetal wastage, malformation, and long-term neurosensory handicaps.

There are documented instances of fetal infection and disease following maternal infection with rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes virus hominis, chickenpox vaccinia, and poliomyelitis. Measles and influenza have also been incriminated on the basis of epidemiological findings, but insufficient evidence is available to permit assessment of the precise risk for these agents.

Little information is available about the placenta, its role in transmitting infection to the fetus and the frequency of microscopic lesions, and the harboring of virus over long periods of time. The use of virus vaccines is strongly contraindicated in relation to pregnancy.