Review of varicella-zoster virus infections in pregnant women and neonates
Varicella-Zoster Virus Infection; Pregnancy; Neonate; Prevention; Diagnosis; Therapy
ABSTRACT: Even though varicella is rare in pregnancy, the disease can lead occasionally to disastrous illnesses for both the mother and her neonate. By contrast, normal zoster is not associated with special problems during pregnancy and peri- natal period. Pregnant women, who contract varicella, are at risk of varicella pneumonia which must be regarded as medical emergency. At any stage during pregnancy, chickenpox may cause intrauterine infection. The consequences for the fetus depend on the time of maternal disease. During the first two trimesters, maternal varicella may result in congenital varicella syndrome which may occur in nearly 2%. Typical symptoms are skin lesions in dermatomal distribution, neurological defects, eye diseases, and skeletal anomalies. Maternal infection near term is associated with a substantial risk of intrauterine acquired neonatal chickenpox in the neonate. If the mother develops varicella rash between day 4 (5) ante partum and day 2 post partum, generalized neonatal varicella leading to death in about 20% of the cases has to be expected. The present paper reviews the clinical consequences and the currently available concepts of prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of varicella-zoster virus infections during pregnancy.