Frequent Detection of Genital Herpes Simplex Virus DNA by Polymerase Chain Reaction Among Pregnant Women

Richard W. Cone, MD, PhD; Ann C. Hobson, PhD; Zane Brown, MD; Rhoda Ashley, PhD; Sylvia Berry, RN; Carol Winter, ARNP; Lawrence Corey, MD
JAMA. 1994;272(10):792-796. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520100054033.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Objective.  —To investigate the prevalence and level of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) among women at delivery.

Design, Patients, and Setting.  —A prospective analysis of HSV by culture and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of genital specimens and by HSV serologic studies in 100 asymptomatic women in labor; prospective analysis of HSV by PCR among 50 seronegative nonpregnant women at a student health center; and retrospective analysis of genital specimens for HSV by PCR from 17 HSV culture-positive women with uninfected neonates and from two HSV culture-negative women with HSV-infected neonates. All pregnant women were at a university hospital.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Presence of HSV by culture and levels of HSV by quantitative, type-specific PCR in cervical and vulvar specimens; HSV serologic testing by Western blot.

Results.  —All of the 100 asymptomatic women in labor who were studied prospectively were HSV culture negative. In nine HSV was recovered by PCR. Herpes simplex virus was recovered by PCR in one of the 50 seronegative nonpregnant women; she soon became seropositive. All 17 culture-positive women had HSV recovered by PCR. High levels of HSV DNA were obtained by PCR from the two culture-negative women with infected neonates. Among those from whom HSV was recovered by PCR, HSV DNA levels were 250 times higher from culture-positive samples than from culture-negative samples (11 571 genome equivalents vs 46 genome equivalents; P<.001).

Conclusions.  —The frequency of infant exposure to HSV DNA—containing secretions from HSV-seropositive mothers is about eight times higher than previously reported using HSV culture methods. High maternal levels of HSV DNA may be associated with an increased frequency of transmission of HSV to the infant.(JAMA. 1994;272:792-796)


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.