Human herpes viruses in pregnancy: cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and varicella zoster virus

Clin Perinatol. 2005 Sep;32(3):671-96. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2005.05.003.


Viruses of the human herpesvirus family can have profound effects on pregnancy. Primary maternal infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) and varicella during pregnancy has been associated with fetal abnormalities and neonatal disease. Public awareness of the role of cytomegalovirus in the etiology of developmental disorders and chronic disabilities needs to increase. With time, we may see new interventions for treatment of infected pregnant women and prevention of long-term effects. Attention must be focused on development of a safe and effective vaccine. With the introduction of an efficacious varicella vaccine, the rate of varicella in pregnancy is expected to decrease dramatically. Physicians caring for women have the opportunity to prevent the complications of varicella by identifying and vaccinating susceptible women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster / diagnosis
  • Herpes Zoster / virology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Herpesviridae Infections / virology*
  • Herpesviridae* / genetics
  • Herpesviridae* / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral