Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The Congenital Varicella Syndrome

Abstract

Maternal varicella during the first two trimesters of pregnancy may cause the congenital varicella syndrome (CVS). After infection in the first 20 weeks' gestation, the incidence is estimated to be about 2%. To date, nearly 100 infants born with signs of CVS have been reported in the literature, more than three quarters of them during the last two decades. The characteristic symptoms consist of skin lesions in dermatomal distribution (76%), neurologic defects (60%), eye diseases (51%), and skeletal anomalies (49%). About 30% of infants born with these lesions died in the first months of life. The diagnosis of CVS should be established by the appearance of maternal varicella, the presence of typical clinical symptoms as well as the laboratory evidence of in utero varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection. In the reviewed infants, intrauterine VZV infection has been proved in about 60%. Passive immunization may reduce the risk of fetal infection but there is no evidence to prevent fetal viremia. Up to now, there are no controlled studies concerning antiviral chemotherapy in preventing CVS.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andreas Sauerbrei.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sauerbrei, A., Wutzler, P. The Congenital Varicella Syndrome. J Perinatol 20, 548–554 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jp.7200457

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links