In order to study the epidemiology of herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) infections during pregnancy, we used an enzyme immunoassay to detect type-specific antibodies to HSV-2 glycoprotein G in serial blood samples obtained from a cohort of 1891 pregnant women. Blood samples obtained at about 17 and 32 weeks of gestation and at the time of delivery were assessed for antibody to HSV-2 glycoprotein G in order to evaluate the prevalence of past infections with HSV-2 and the rate of acquisition of HSV-2 infection during pregnancy. Three hundred eleven pregnant women (16.5%) were found to have had past infections with HSV-2. Four of the 1580 women who were initially seronegative developed antibodies to HSV-2 during pregnancy. The annualized rate of acquisition of HSV-2 infection in pregnant women was 0.58%. Three of four women had asymptomatic primary infections; all of the women had preexisting HSV-1 immunity. None of the women or their infants experienced any adverse consequences of gestational herpes. Based upon our very limited number of observations to date, asymptomatic primary episodes occurring in women with previous HSV-1 immunity may be of less consequence to the fetus and neonate than symptomatic true primary HSV-2 infections.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DP04600009
View details for PubMedID 2164656