Treatment For Baby With Herpes


When newborn babies are infected with herpes it is called neonatal herpes. The infection is caused either by the Herpes Simplex Virus1 (HSV1) or Herpes Simplex Virus2 (HSV2).  


The baby is infected if the mother is already suffering from oral or genital herpes. Transmission usually happens at the time


1. When the baby is in the uterus, though these occasions are rare


2. Soon after birth


3. While the baby is moving through the birth canal 


Herpes may affect spinal cord, brain, mouth, liver, eyes, lungs, skin and/or mouth. Herpes in a newborn baby is an ailment of major concern. Usually newborns contract the disease during delivery, from the mother who has herpes. Treatment needs to be immediate and effective in order to prevent future abnormalities of nervous system and growth of the child.


Treatment of Neonatal Herpes


Treating neonatal herpes does not mean it can be cured. It can be contained, suppressed and the symptoms reduced. The virus actually never leaves the child’s body and may show up again later in life as a recurrence of the problem. 


What to do


As soon as you detect the signs of herpes in the baby, do not delay the visit to the pediatrician


Treatment has to begin immediately only if


1. The mother has been infected with genital herpes, for the first time, at the time of delivery


2. Lesions or sores are visible on the baby


3. Lab tests confirm the infection



4. Antiviral medication like acyclovir is most likely to be administered as treatment, as it is known to have minimal risk of complications.  


5. In all probability the baby will have to remain in the hospital to receive intensive care by the health care providers


6. The treatment will go on for a few weeks; Additional therapy and medication may be needed for the child if there are occurrences of seizures due to herpes


Post-treatment care should be planned with the help of the pediatrician regarding


1. How to prevent recurrence


2. If herpes recurs how to care for the child


3. What medication is likely to reduce or suppress symptoms  


Prevention of Neonatal Herpes


The best ways to prevent the occurrence of herpes in a baby are


1. Consult physician about HSV antibody testing, during pregnancy or when you are planning to get pregnant


2. Avoid oral sex and practice safe sex, especially with partners who have herpes


3. Become familiar with the symptoms of herpes and be aware about the appearance of the sores or lesions, so that it is easy to identify it quickly



4. If you already have herpes and are planning to get pregnant, ask the doctor to prescribe an anti-viral that will suppress its outbreak at the time of delivery


5. Pregnant mothers with herpes should opt for Cesarean section delivery because vaginal delivery presents the biggest risk of infection to the child 


Blurb: Neonatal herpes is a major health concern. If it is not treated within the first month of occurrence there are serious complications, sometimes leading to death. Parents must be extra careful (if there is a history of herpes) to see that they practise safe sex and avoid oral sex in order to reduce the risk of infection to the baby. Antiviral drugs like Acyclovir are known to contain the disease without harmful side effects.

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