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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2009 Aug;14(4):209-17. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2008.11.008. Epub 2008 Dec 19.

Varicella in the fetus and newborn.

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Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, G322, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Varicella (chickenpox) in pregnancy is unusual because most women of childbearing age are immune. It can, however, cause significant morbidity for the pregnant woman and in rare cases cause congenital varicella syndrome. The incidence of congenital varicella syndrome after maternal varicella during the first two trimesters is <1% across multiple cohort studies. Maternal infection in the third trimester is not associated with congenital varicella syndrome, but the infant may develop herpes zoster during the first one or two years. Maternal infection just before or after delivery presents a high risk for disseminated varicella in the infant. Serious infection can be prevented with passive antibody prophylaxis and antiviral therapy. Maternal herpes zoster does not result in adverse fetal or neonatal outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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