Herpes Simplex, Genital and Neonatal (Initial Infection)

Cause: Herpes simplex virus serotypes HSV-1 and HSV-2.

Illness and treatment: Genital infection is lifelong, ranging from no symptoms to recurring episodes of mild to painful genital ulcers. Antiviral medications partially control the frequency and severity of the episodes but are not a cure. Neonatal infection may be severe, involving the liver or brain, or mild, involving the skin, eyes, and mouth.

Sources: Herpes infection is sexually transmitted or acquired at birth.

Additional risks: Oral herpes (cold sores) can be transmitted to the genital area.

Prevention: Use safe sexual practices to reduce transmission.

Recent Washington trends: Each year there are about 2,000 cases reported.

2010: 2,028 cases of initial genital HSV infection (30.1 cases/100,000 population) and 6 cases of neonatal infection were reported.

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To assess trends in epidemic patterns, understand the impact of the burden of disease on populations, the health care infrastructure, and to better target population-level disease prevention efforts.

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers: initial genital and all neonatal infections are notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 3 work days (WAC 246-101-101)
  • Health Care Facilities: no requirements for reporting
  • Laboratories: no requirements for reporting
  • Local health jurisdictions: notify the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), STD Services Section within 7 days of case investigation completion; summary information required within 21 days for all reported cases

Last guideline update
October 2010