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Herpes Simplex, Neonatal Nursing, Neonatology, Virus Latency



  1. Wyckoff, Mary Mason MSN, C-FNP, NNP


This description of a tragic case of infection with neonatal herpes simplex virus type II is presented to alert professional nurses to the fact that this disease is sometimes difficult to recognize, but must be considered when a newborn has any unusual symptoms. Neonatal herpes simplex type II may have a slow and insidious onset, and be masked by many other symptoms. Even though the virus might be present in a newborn, the symptoms might not be apparent until several days after birth; this is a problem because infants are now leaving hospitals much earlier and can become ill after hospital discharge. Parents, especially first-time parents, may not recognize subtle signs of illness in their child. Therefore, the onus is on the health care provider to evaluate each infant for symptomatology and provide education to parents along with instructions to obtain early follow-up care for all newborns.