Healthy children are born every day in Cook County hospitals, and for most parents, childbirth is one of the hardest but most joyous experiences they will ever have. For some parents, however, what should be a sacred and precious experience ends in a nightmare. If a mother has a case of undiagnosed or untreated genital herpes, there is a risk that an infant will catch herpes from the mother during childbirth, resulting in serious injuries or death.
Can a Newborn Get Genital Herpes?
Newborns can catch genital herpes from their mothers, especially if the mother contracted herpes for the first time during the last six weeks of her pregnancy. The first herpes outbreak a person experiences is usually her worst, but a mother having an outbreak may be actively shedding the virus during birth even if it is not her first. Women who are having an active herpes outbreak who share that information with their doctors and fail to receive adequate treatment may pass the infection onto their infants.
Warning Signs of a Herpes Infection in Infants
Herpes simplex virus is usually a harmless infection in adults; in fact, most adults with herpes are estimated to be unaware of their infection because of a total lack of symptoms. Approximately 20-25 percent of women have a latent herpes infection and give birth with no incident. For some infants, however, neonatal herpes can be a serious and even fatal condition. Because their immune systems are undeveloped, a herpes infection can overwhelm their body and result in serious damage to the nervous system, brain, and even death.
Symptoms that an infant may have a herpes infection include:
Lethargy, irritability, or refusal to sleep
Refusing to feed
Floppiness, unresponsiveness, or difficulty waking
A high temperature or fever
Difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, or a blue tongue and skin
A rash or sores on or inside the mouth, eyes, skin, or genitals
It can be difficult to distinguish symptoms of a herpes infection from other infant illnesses, so it is important to act quickly and get help.
Speak with a Cook County Birth Injury Lawyer
The injury or death of an infant is one of the most devastating events a parent can experience. The pain and suffering can be even worse if the loss could have been prevented with the proper standard of medical care. If you are in this situation, you may be able to get help from a compassionate and experienced Chicago, IL birth injury attorney with Birth Injury Law Alliance. We will take your case seriously and help you determine whether you have a case for a birth injury lawsuit. Call us today for a free initial consultation at 312-462-4200.