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Arch Pediatr. 2003 Dec;10(12):1113-8.

[Chickenpox during pregnancy].

[Article in French]

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Centre de diagnostique prénatal et de médecine foetale, institut de puériculture, Paris, France.


Varicella during pregnancy is a rare occurrence because of a high rate of spontaneous immunisation in the population. When a pregnant woman presents a typical rash, maternal complications, mainly respiratory distress, can occur and be life threatening. Fetal complications include two types of consequences. Before 24 weeks of gestation, transplacental transmission is estimated around 6%, with about one third of infected fetuses presenting clinical manifestations. Congenital varicella syndrome includes growth retardation, neurological effects as microcephaly, limbs malposition, lung or bowel hyperechogenicity. But most infected fetuses will not show any anomaly. A very few might develop shingles in the first year of life. Peripartum contamination brings a much higher risk of transmission (around 25%). Neonatal varicella infection can be life threatening for the new born baby, especially if premature. A specific treatment should be started as soon as the contamination is discovered. Zoster during pregnancy does not lead to a risk of fetal infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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