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May 1984

Asymptomatic Shedding of Herpes Simplex Virus From the Cervix and Lesion Site During Pregnancy: Correlation of Antepartum Shedding With Shedding at Delivery

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs Wittek and Yeager and Ms Au) and Gynecology and Obstetrics (Dr Hensleigh), Stanford (Calif) University School of Medicine.

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(5):439-442. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140430017005

• Asymptomatic shedding of herpes simplex virus (HSV) was detected in 0.83% of 955 cultures obtained from pregnant women with culture-proved recurrent genital HSV infections during pregnancy; seven (2.3%) of 299 women had asymptomatic shedding. In addition, one (2.3%) of 42 pregnant women with recurrent genital infection in the past but no attacks during pregnancy shed HSV when asymptomatic. Shedding occurred more frequently from the usual lesion site than from the cervix. The virus was not isolated at delivery from women with asymptomatic antepartum shedding. When an active lesion was present, concomitant shedding of HSV from the cervix occurred in seven (3.6%) of 193 pregnant women with vulvar lesions and in one (2.1%) of 47 women with lesions remote from the vulva. Ninety-two percent of the latter lesions were caused by type 2 HSV. In women who have had recurrent genital HSV infections in the past, asymptomatic shedding occurs in those with active attacks during pregnancy as well as in those asymptomatic throughout pregnancy; however, asymptomatic shedding during the antepartum period does not predict asymptomatic shedding at delivery.

(AJDC 1984;138:439-442)

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