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

  • 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 (2002). Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2002 (CDC Publication Vol. 51, No. RR-6), pp. 12–17. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last Updated: January 13, 2009

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