What is birth-acquired herpes?


October 25, 2016

Dear Counsellor:

I went to the doctor with my baby as he was feeling ill and the doctor told me she has birth-acquired Herpes. What is birth-acquired herpes?


Dear JT:

Birth-acquired herpes is a herpes virus infection than a baby gets while in the womb. The infection can also develop during or shortly after birth. Babies with birth-acquired herpes get the infection from mothers who are infected with genital herpes. Birth-acquired herpes is sometimes also called "congenital herpes".

Babies with congenital herpes may have a skin infection, a system-wide infection called "systemic herpes", or both. Systemic herpes is dangerous and can cause a variety of serious complications. These complications may include brain damage, breathing problems, and seizures. Please follow your doctor's instructions carefully and protect the baby from any further complications.


For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections call the AIDS/STD Helpline toll free at 1888-991-4444.

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