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Herpes simplex virus infection in pregnancy and in neonate: status of art of epidemiology, diagnosis, therapy and prevention

Elena Anzivino1, Daniela Fioriti2, Monica Mischitelli1, Anna Bellizzi1, Valentina Barucca1, Fernanda Chiarini1 and Valeria Pietropaolo1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health Sciences, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy

2 Department of Urology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy

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Virology Journal 2009, 6:40  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-6-40

Published: 6 April 2009


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is one of the most common viral sexually transmitted diseases worldwide. The first time infection of the mother may lead to severe illness in pregnancy and may be associated with virus transmission from mother to foetus/newborn.

Since the incidence of this sexually transmitted infection continues to rise and because the greatest incidence of herpes simplex virus infections occur in women of reproductive age, the risk of maternal transmission of the virus to the foetus or neonate has become a major health concern.

On these purposes the Authors of this review looked for the medical literature and pertinent publications to define the status of art regarding the epidemiology, the diagnosis, the therapy and the prevention of HSV in pregnant women and neonate. Special emphasis is placed upon the importance of genital herpes simplex virus infection in pregnancy and on the its prevention to avoid neonatal HSV infections.