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Arch Hellen Med, 27(6), November-December 2010, 871-878


Pregnancy and herpes genitalis – a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge

First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany

Genital herpes, an infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2), constitutes one of the most common sexually transmitted viral diseases worldwide. The primary problem of such an infection during pregnancy is transmission of the virus to the fetus or the newborn infant, with subsequent serious neonatal symptoms. Following sexual transmission of HSV-2 and after an incubation period of 4−5 days, typical dermatological changes in the genital region occur, which evolve into painful pustules. The diagnosis is based on the clinical symptoms and characteristic dermatological lesions. A course of suppressive treatment with acyclovir from the 36th week of gestation decreases considerably the symptomatology and the relapse frequency of a herpes genitalis. A cesarean section should be performed in patients with clinical symptomatology and active herpes genitalis infection, at the latest within 4−6 hours of rupture of fetal membranes. Despite these prophylactic measures, vertical transmission of genital herpes to the baby cannot be entirely excluded.

Key words: Diagnosis, Genital herpes, Pregnancy, Treatment.

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