Herpes virus infections in infants are generally treated with medicine given through a vein (intravenous). Acyclovir is the most common antiviral medicine used for this purpose. The baby may need to take the medicine for several weeks.
Other therapy is often needed to treat the effects of herpes infection, such as shock or seizures. Often, because these babies are very ill, treatment is done in an intensive care unit.
Infants with systemic herpes or encephalitis often do poorly, despite antiviral medications and early treatment.
In infants with skin disease, the vesicles may come back repeatedly even after treatment is finished. These recurrences put them at risk for learning disabilities, and may need to be treated.
- Bacterial or fungal infection of skin lesions
- Developmental delay
- Excessive bleeding, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
- Eye problems (chorioretinitis, keratitis)
- Gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea
- Liver failure
- Lung problems including pneumonia or pneumonitis
- Brain and nervous system (neurological) problems
- Respiratory distress
- Skin lesions
Calling Your Health Care Provider
If your baby has any symptoms of birth-acquired herpes, including skin lesions alone, have the baby seen by your health care provider promptly.
Review Date : 10/15/2008
Reviewed By : Daniel Rauch, MD, FAAP. Director, Pediatric Hospitalist Program, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.