Herpes simplex infection of the baby occurs during birth.

It is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV. 


  • HSV type 1- in 20% of cases. 
  • HSV type 2- in 80% of cases

Clinical features

Localised skin, mouth, eye infection in 30% of cases

Skin infections

  • Group vesicles, pustules
  • Generally occurs in the 3rd to  7th day of life

Eye infection

  • Keratitis
  • Chorioretinitis

Nervous system infections.

  • Can occur up to 3 weeks from birth
  • Presents  as encephalitis with seizures, irritability or lethargy


  • Viral culture- local secretions and blood
  • Lumbar puncture with testing of cerebrospinal fluid, liver enzymes.


  • Hospitalisation
  • Intravenous acyclovir for at least 2 weeks
  • Ophthalmic examination


  • Mortality can be up to 50% from Herpes infection

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