Intended for healthcare professionals


Sixty seconds on . . . neonatal herpes

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 12 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3852
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London, UK

Can kissing babies be wrong?

Yes, if you are infected with herpes. Transferred to a newborn, the infection can have serious consequences, including long term neurological damage and, in some cases, death. That’s why the tabloids, with their instinct for the jugular, call it “the kiss of death.”

How common is it?

Estimates vary. The figure usually cited for the UK is 1.6 infections per 100 000 …

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