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Prevention and management of genital herpes simplex infection during pregnancy and delivery: Guidelines from the French College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (CNGOF)

      Highlights

      • Around 70–80% of pregnant women have a history of HSV infection, vary; in most cases, it is type 1.
      • The risk of HSV seroconversion during pregnancy is on the order of 1–5%.
      • Neonatal herpes is rare and mainly due to HSV-1. In most cases of neonatal herpes, mothers have no history of genital herpes.
      • The risk of neonatal herpes is estimated at between 25% and 44% if a non primary and primary first genital herpes episode is ongoing at delivery and 1% for a recurrence.

      Abstract

      Objective

      Identify measures to diagnose, prevent, and treat genital herpes infection during pregnancy and childbirth as well as neonatal herpes infection.

      Materials and methods

      Bibliographic search from the Medline and Cochrane Library databases and review of international clinical practice guidelines.

      Results

      Genital herpes lesions are most often due to HSV-2 (LE2). The risk of HSV seroconversion during pregnancy is 1–5% (LE2). Genital herpes lesions during pregnancy in a woman with a history of genital herpes is a recurrence. In this situation, there is no need for virologic confirmation (Grade B). In pregnant women with genital lesions who report they have not previously had genital herpes, virological confirmation by PCR and identifying the specific IgG type is necessary (professional consensus). A first episode of genital herpes during pregnancy should be treated with aciclovir (200 mg 5 times daily) or valaciclovir (1000 mg twice daily) for 5–10 days (Grade C), and recurrent herpes during pregnancy with aciclovir (200 mg 5 times daily) or valaciclovir (500 mg twice daily) (Grade C). The risk of neonatal herpes is estimated at between 25% and 44% if a non primary and primary first genital herpes episode is ongoing at delivery (LE2) and 1% for a recurrence (LE3). Antiviral prophylaxis should be offered to women with either a first or recurrent episode of genital herpes during pregnancy from 36 weeks of gestation until delivery (Grade B). Routine prophylaxis is not recommended for women with a history of genital herpes but no recurrence during pregnancy (professional consensus). A cesarean delivery is recommended if a first episode of genital herpes is suspected (or confirmed) at the onset of labor (Grade B) or if it occured less than 6 weeks before delivery (professional consensus) or in the event of premature rupture of the membranes at term. When a recurrence of genital herpes is underway at the onset of labor, cesarean delivery is most likely to be considered when the membranes are intact and vaginal delivery in cases of prolonged rupture of membranes (professional consensus). Neonatal herpes is rare and mainly due to HSV-1 (LE3). In most cases of neonatal herpes, mothers have no history of genital herpes (LE3). When neonatal herpes is suspected, various samples (blood and cerebrospinal fluid) for HSV PCR must be taken to confirm the diagnosis (professional consensus). Any newborn with suspected neonatal herpes should be treated with intravenous acyclovir (20 mg/kg 3 times daily) (grade A) before the PCR results are available (professional consensus). The duration of the treatment depends on the clinical form (professional consensus)

      Conclusion

      There is no formal evidence that it is possible to reduce the risk of neonatal herpes in genital herpes during pregnancy. However, appropriate care can reduce the symptoms associated with herpes and the risk of recurrence at term, as well as cesarean rate because of herpes lesions.

      Keywords

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