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Herpes Infection in Newborns

In rare cases, a newborn is infected with the herpes simplex virus (HSV) during delivery. This can result in serious health problems. An infected newborn's health problems are generally more severe when the infection affects several body systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following treatment for newborns with known or suspected HSV infection:1

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  • Infections involving the skin (a rash that looks like blisters), eyes, or mouth: intravenous (IV) acyclovir for 14 days
  • Infection involving internal organs, such as the liver, brain, or heart: intravenous (IV) acyclovir for 21 days


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010). Genital HSV infections. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2010 (CDC Publication Vol. 59, No. RR-12), pp. 20-25. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available online:

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
Last Revised December 21, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 21, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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