Informative Articles and Independent, Unbiased Product Reports On Various Herpes Remedies

Herpes and Newborn Babies

Genital herpes is highly contagious. It is a sexually transmitted disease that has the capacity for a devastating impact upon a newborn baby. It is estimated that about 45 million Americans have genital herpes with up to one million new cases occurring each year, including about 1,000 in newborn babies.

Passed from Mother to Baby

Although most women with genital herpes go on to have healthy babies, there are a number of babies born to infected mothers that end up infected as well. The infection is most often passed from mother to baby during the labor and delivery process. That is why it is imperative that women who know they have had or currently have an outbreak of genital herpes be in contact with the physician. Seeking immediate medical treatment can prevent the spread of the disease to the newborn baby. There are steps the doctor can take to protect the baby and lessen the risk of exposure from genital herpes.

Most babies who contract herpes get it from their mothers during the birthing process. However, in rare occasions, a baby can become infected before birth. Also, some babies acquire the disease after they are born because they are infected by people with herpes (type 1 that manifests in cold sores) who kiss them or touch them after touching a cold sore and not washing their hands.

Effects of Herpes on Newborns

A newborn baby that has contracted herpes often develops skin or mouth sores or eye infections. If the infection remains confined to these areas, the baby usually goes on to develop and grow normally. There is a risk of permanent damage to the baby's eyes or nerve damage, though. Often, herpes infections in newborns spread to the brain and internal organs. Babies who are infected in this way appear irritable, they don't eat well, and often have seizures. Even though they receive treatment, about half of the babies infected in this way die, as do the ten percent who end up with brain infections and inflammation. If the baby survives the onslaught of infection, he or she usually ends up developing lasting disabilities such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures, and vision or hearing loss.

Treatment of Infected Babies

Infected newborn babies are typically treated with acyclovir, a drug that has been successfully used in the treatment of localized infections of the eyes, skin or mouth. The critical factor is to treat the infection early, before it spreads since acyclovir is less effective once the infection has spread to the brain or other internal organs.

For the safety of the unborn baby, a woman who is pregnant and knows she is infected should be under the strict care of an informed physician who can help her and work to protect the baby.