Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Neonatal varicella
  1. Katherine Longbottom1,
  2. Hermione Lyall2
  1. 1Paediatric Infectious Diseases, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Katherine Longbottom, Paediatric Infectious Diseases, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, G51 4TF, UK; katherine.longbottom{at}


Primary infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV) in the final 3 weeks of pregnancy may cause transplacental infection and neonatal varicella. Infants are most at risk of severe disease if born from 5 days before to 2 days after onset of the maternal varicella rash. Administration of post-exposure prophylaxis with varicella zoster immunoglobulin and treatment of varicella with aciclovir for those at highest risk of progression to severe disease is advised. Universal vaccination against VZV significantly reduces the incidence of neonatal varicella.

  • Virology
  • Neonatology
  • Paediatrics
  • Infectious Disease Medicine
  • Communicable Diseases

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors KL and HL conceived the idea for the article. KL wrote the first draft. Both authors reviewed the final version of the manuscript and approved it for submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.