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Eur J Med. 1993 Apr;2(4):209-14.

Enterovirus infections in neonates. A retrospective study of 21 cases.

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Service de Néomatologie, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, France.



The aim of this study was to define the major features of enterovirus infections in the neonatal period based on our own experience.


Epidemiology, clinical manifestations and laboratory investigations concerning 21 neonates having experienced a Coxsackie B or an Echovirus infection between 1987 and 1991, were retrospectively reviewed. Aetiological diagnosis was made by classical viral isolation and/or by evidencing Coxsackie B-specific IgM antibodies with an immunocapture enzyme immunoassay.


In 13 neonates the infection occurred between June and September. The onset of clinical signs ranged from day 1 to day 25 after birth with two separate periods: before 7 days of age, suggesting a perinatal transmission of the virus, or beyond this date, more likely connected with a postnatal transmission. Clinical manifestations included hyperthermia, gastroenteritis, meningitis, encephalitis, pneumonia and myocarditis, with a diphasic pattern in 6 cases. Most of the neonates improved gradually and developed normally. The Coxsackie B-specific IgM assay was the most rapid method whereas viral isolation, even though it took more time, was the most sensitive technique to establish the aetiological diagnosis in neonates.


Enterovirus infections in neonates are difficult to diagnose and to differentiate from bacterial infections. A viral-like illness in the environment of the neonate allows the clinician to anticipate the clinical signs and a possibly fatal disease. Identification of the causal virus should be performed by both viral isolation and search for specific IgM antibodies. Treatment and prophylaxis are so far disappointing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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