Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000187203.27918.45

The Public Health Imperative for a Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Surveillance System

Donoval, Betty A. BS*; Passaro, Douglas J. MD, MPH*; Klausner, Jeffrey D. MD, MPH†

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About 1 in 5 sexually active adults in the United States has serologic evidence of genital herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type-2. Neonatal herpes simplex virus infection is a serious consequence of genital herpes infection. Herpes infection in neonates causes significant morbidity and neurologic damage and generally has a case-fatality ratio untreated of 60%. It is estimated that 440 to 1320 cases of neonatal herpes infections occur in the United States per year (11–33 cases occur per 100,000 live births). Given the challenges in surveillance for genital herpes due to the large number of asymptomatic infections and infrequent laboratory-based diagnosis, we recommend that to begin an effective national control program for herpes infections, a mandatory national surveillance system for neonatal herpes be implemented. Such a system would help assure appropriate therapy, help monitor trends and understand the burden of disease, identify risk determinants, and evaluate prevention efforts.

© Copyright 2006 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association


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