Viremia in neonatal herpes simplex virus infections


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Abstract

Background.Polymerase chain reaction assays of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and plasma may facilitate the diagnosis of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV).Methods.Assays for HSV DNA were submitted from at least 1 specimen site (PBMC, plasma or cerebrospinal fluid) in 11 consecutive cases of neonatal HSV infection.Results.HSV DNA was detected by PCR in the PBMC of 6 of 10 infants tested (60%), the plasma of 4 of 6 tested (67%) and the cerebrospinal fluid of 4 of 11 tested (36%).Conclusions.HSV viremia is more frequent than previously appreciated, and detection of HSV DNA in PBMC and plasma is a useful diagnostic tool, particularly in infants without skin lesions.

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