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Disseminated Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection with Escherichia Coli Coinfection

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Neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is an uncommon disease that rarely presents as sudden unexpected death of a previously healthy newborn. Clinical manifestations are variable; signs and symptoms may be subtle and nonspecific. Neonatal infection may present with mucocutaneous (skin, eye, and/or mouth), disseminated, or central nervous system disease. Morbidity and mortality are dependent upon disease presentation and treatment. The infection is most frequently transmitted during the peripartum period, although the majority of mothers have no known history of HSV infection at the time of delivery. Findings at autopsy include gastrointestinal or mucocutaneous ulcers, diffuse hepatic necrosis, adrenal necrosis, pneumonitis, and splenic necrosis. Characteristic intranuclear viral inclusions are identified on microscopic examination. Coinfection with bacterial organisms may contribute to death. Autopsy examination with appropriate ancillary studies, including cultures, is critical given that many infants lack cutaneous manifestations of disease and remain undiagnosed prior to death.
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Keywords: autopsy; forensic pathology; forensic science; herpes simplex virus; maternal infection; neonatal sepsis; sudden infant death

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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