Father-to-Newborn Transmission of Herpes Simplex Virus Infection: A Sweet but Bitter Kiss.


While rare, neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is one of the most severe perinatal infections. Only 10% of cases are acquired after birth. The disease is classified according to clinical presentation as follows: skin, eye, and mouth (SEM) disease (prevalence of ≈45%); central nervous system (CNS) disease (≈30%), and disseminated disease (≈25%), which has the worst prognosis.1 No deaths have been reported for SEM disease, but 2% of those affected may develop some degree of impairment by the age of 12 years.2 Early recognition and treatment with high-dose acyclovir (60 mg/kg/d) reduces mortality and may improve long-term outcomes.3 We present the case of a 10-day-old newborn female admitted to the hospital with generalized skin lesions that had appeared 5 h previously. The lesions consisted of groups of vesicles and pustules overlying erythematous skin, affecting the trunk and tongue (Fig. 1). The infant did not have fever or neurologic symptoms and was systemically well. There had been no complications during the pregnancy, vaginal delivery, or immediate postpartum period. The mother had had systemic lupus erythematous for the past 6 years, but this was clinically stable. She had had chickenpox during her childhood but had no genital lesions suggestive of herpes infection. The father, however, had active herpes simplex labialis and admitted to having repeatedly kissed his baby while he had active lesions. HSV type 1 was isolated from vesicular lesions in the neonate by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The rest of the tests were normal or negative, and included biochemical analysis, blood cell count, coagulation studies, blood culture, PCR for varicellazoster virus from the newborn’s vesicles, and culture and

DOI: 10.1016/j.ad.2016.04.011

Cite this paper

@article{Cerio2016FathertoNewbornTO, title={Father-to-Newborn Transmission of Herpes Simplex Virus Infection: A Sweet but Bitter Kiss.}, author={O Guergu{\'e} Diaz de Cerio and M Rubio Lombra{\~n}a and A Barrutia Borque and M R Gonz{\'a}lez Hermosa}, journal={Actas dermo-sifiliograficas}, year={2016}, volume={107 9}, pages={797-798} }