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While pregnant, what infections and viruses can increase the chances of having a child with cerebral palsy (CP)?

ANSWER

Certain infections and viruses, when they strike during pregnancy, can increase the risk your baby will be born with cerebral palsy. They include:

  • Rubella, or German measles, a viral illness that can be prevented with a vaccine
  • Chickenpox, also called varicella (a vaccine can prevent this contagious illness.)
  • Cytomegalovirus, which causes flu like symptoms in the mother
  • Herpes, which can be passed from mother to unborn child and can damage the baby’s developing nervous system
  • Toxoplasmosis, which is carried by parasites found in soil, cat feces and tainted food
  • Syphilis, a sexually transmitted bacterial infection
  • Zika, a virus carried by mosquitoes

SOURCES:

CDC: Cerebral Palsy (CP).

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare: Cerebral Palsy.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Cerebral Palsy.

American Academy of Pediatrics: Cerebral Palsy.

March of Dimes: Cerebral Palsy.

Mayo Clinic Health Library: Cerebral Palsy.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 07, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC: Cerebral Palsy (CP).

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare: Cerebral Palsy.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Cerebral Palsy.

American Academy of Pediatrics: Cerebral Palsy.

March of Dimes: Cerebral Palsy.

Mayo Clinic Health Library: Cerebral Palsy.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 07, 2019

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