By Gary M. White, MD
Neonatal varicella (NV) is the infection of the newborn with chicken pox. The newborn may be affected in two ways:
- If the mother develops chickenpox between days 4 and 5 antepartum to day 2 postpartum, NV is more generalized and severe as protective maternal antibodies are not transferred to the baby.
- If the mother develops chickenpox at least 5 days before delivery, maternal antibodies are transferred and the NV is less severe.
- Said another way, NV of onset within the first 4 days of life is usually mild. Onset of NV 5-12 days after birth has a significant mortality rate.
A separate entity is congenital varicella syndrome in which the mom is infected with chickenpox during the first or second trimester. This can cause abnormalities in the newborn child.
J Clin Neonatol. 2013 Oct-Dec; 2(4): 200
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