Neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is a severe disease with high mortality and morbidity in spite of the development of effective anti-viral therapies. The viral load in neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection was measured retrospectively in 37 patients. HSV DNA copy numbers in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were quantified using a real-time PCR assay. Patients with disseminated infection had a higher viral load in their sera. whereas patients with central nervous system (CNS) infection exhibited a higher viral load in the CSF. The viral load was significantly higher in the serum of patients who died later. Interestingly, patients with HSV type-2 infection exhibited more CNS involvement and neurological impairment, together with a high viral load in the CSF, than did HSV type-1 patients. These results suggest that quantitation of HSV viral load may be useful for assessing the prognosis, and may provide additional information for the management of neonatal HSV infection.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.