Neonatal Herpes Simplex Infection
Tremendous advances have occurred over the past 30 years in the diagnosis and management of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) disease. Mortality in patients with disseminated disease has decreased from 85 to 29%, and that in patients with central nervous system (CNS) disease has decreased from 50 to 4%. Morbidity has been improved more modestly: the proportion of patients with disseminated disease who are developing normally at 1 year has increased from 50 to 83%. While the proportion of patients with neurologic morbidity following CNS disease has remained essentially unchanged over the past three decades, the total number of patients who are developing normally following HSV CNS disease has increased due to the improved survival. Although additional therapeutic advances in the future are possible, more immediate methods for further improvements in outcome for patients with this potentially devastating disease lie in an enhanced awareness of neonatal HSV infection and disease. A thorough understanding of the biology and natural history of HSV in the gravid woman and the neonate provides the basis for such an index of suspicion and is provided in this article.