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February 1969

Congenital Varicella Encephalomyelitis in Surviving Newborn

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Ullevaal Hospital, University of Oslo, Norway.

Am J Dis Child. 1969;117(2):231-235. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100030233021

Congenital varicella was reported as early as 18781 but is a relatively rare condition. In most previously reported cases1-8 the mother contracted the disease near term and the infant was either born with a vesicular eruption or developed the typical rash so soon after birth that sources of infection other than intrauterine could be discounted.

If the mother acquires the infection in the first trimester, abortion might occur.9-10 However, complications of varicella in pregnancy seem to occur less frequently than previously feared6,11 and a significant increase in fetal mortality is not evident with varicella.12

The recent rubella epidemic has made physicians more acutely aware of some of the consequences of intra-uterine viral infection. This is a report of some observations recently made on an infant born of a mother who contracted varicella infection during early pregnancy.

Report of a Case  The mother was a 20-year-old

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