Mother-to-child transmission of herpes simplex virus

Scott H. James, Jeanne S. Sheffield, David W. Kimberlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Infections with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2), both alpha herpesviruses, are highly prevalent worldwide. Both HSV types commonly cause genital infection, which, when acquired or reactivated during pregnancy, carries with it the risk of transmission to the fetus or neonate. Women who acquire primary or first-episode genital herpes during pregnancy are at greater risk for transmitting the infection than are women with recurrent genital herpes. Because viral infection and reactivation are frequently asymptomatic, many affected women are unaware of their infection and risk of transmission to their infants. Neonatal HSV infection can have devastating long-term consequences, especially when the central nervous system (CNS) is involved. Treatment of affected neonates with intravenous acyclovir has improved outcomes but there is room for further improvement, especially in regard to CNS disease. Working with pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HSV is an important component in reducing the overall disease burden of neonatal HSV infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpiu050
Pages (from-to)S19-S23
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue numberSUPPL1
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Herpes simplex virus type 1
  • Herpes simplex virus type 2
  • Perinatal transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Mother-to-child transmission of herpes simplex virus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this