Testing & Diagnosis for Congenital Herpes Simplex in Children

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How is congenital herpes diagnosed?

Diagnosis is difficult because babies with congenital herpes may not have the characteristic blisters of the disease. In addition, many symptoms of herpes resemble other diseases or disorders. However, the following tests can diagnose congenital herpes:

  • skin culture–taking a sample of the blister by scraping or removing a piece of tissue
  • blood test
  • swab culture–taking a sample with a cotton swab from the nose, throat or rectum
  • urine test
  • CT scan or MRI scan of the head.

The mother and baby are usually tested simultaneously if herpes is suspected.

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