Neonatal Herpes Simplex (2)
The spectrum of neonatal HSV infection varies from a mild disease localized to the skin to a fatal disseminated infection.
Infection is particularly dangerous in premature infants.
Where dissemination occurs, the organs most commonly involved are the liver, adrenals and the brain.
Where the brain is involved, the prognosis is particularly severe. The encephalitis is global and of such severity that the brain may be liquefied.
A large proportion of survivors of neonatal HSV infection have residual disabilities.
Acyclovir should be promptly given in all suspected cases of neonatal HSV infection.
The only means of prevention is to offer caesarean section to mothers with florid genital HSV lesions.