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J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2017 Sep 1;6(3):e169-e172. doi: 10.1093/jpids/pix035.

Disseminated Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 After a Water Birth.

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University of Ottawa, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology.
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Canada.
Queen's University, Department of Pediatrics, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Neonatal herpes simplex virus (NHSV) infections are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Numerous factors influence the transmission of HSV infection to newborns; however, immersion in water during labor has received very little attention as a possible risk factor despite the increasing popularity of water births. We report a case of disseminated NHSV type 1 infection, possibly acquired during a water birth. The purpose of this report is to alert healthcare providers to this potential route of transmission and to highlight the importance of screening guidelines for HSV before a water birth. Furthermore, it is essential to consider NHSV infection in any febrile infant who is not responding to standard empirical antibiotic management, even in the absence of herpetic lesions.


birthing centers; herpes simplex virus; neonatal health; water microbiology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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