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Keywords:

  • Herpes;
  • neonate;
  • prevention

Please cite this paper as: Gardella C, Brown Z. Prevention of neonatal herpes. BJOG 2011;118:187–192.

Neonatal herpes can occur when the neonate is exposed to herpes simplex virus in the maternal genital tract during labour. Attack rates are highest when the mother has a newly acquired infection and, therefore, does not have antibodies to protect the neonate. Even with early therapy, there is significant morbidity and mortality associated with neonatal herpes, suggesting that preventing neonatal herpes simplex virus exposure or early recognition of exposure is important. The incidence of neonatal herpes has not declined despite national guidelines for prevention. This suggests that the prevention guidelines need to be re-addressed.