Author Interviews, Herpes Viruses, Pediatrics / 19.12.2014

Ann J. Melvin MD, MPH Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease Department of Pediatrics Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA 98105.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ann J. Melvin MD, MPH Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease Department of Pediatrics Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA 98105. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Melvin: While relatively uncommon, neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus is a potentially devastating infection with significant morbidity and mortality.  We reviewed all of the neonatal HSV cases treated at our institution between 1993 and 2012 who had HSV DNA PCR results available from the plasma and/or CSF.  Most of the infants had quantitative PCR results available.  The objective of the study was to determine the clinical correlation of HSV PCR levels in the plasma and CSF.  We found a clear association between the plasma HSV level, clinical presentation and mortality.  All of the infants who died had HSV plasma DNA levels of greater than 7 log10 copies/ml.   However, neither plasma nor CSF HSV levels predicted neurologic outcome.   Clinical evidence of CNS disease was more predictive of neurologic outcome than was the CSF PCR level. We also showed the most sensitive test for diagnosis of neonatal HSV to be HSV PCR on the plasma.  However, no single test diagnostic test (plasma PCR, CSF PCR, surface cultures) was positive across all infants, so it is important to obtain samples from plasma, CSF and surface swabs in infants with symptoms consistent with HSV infection.