The incidence of neonatal herpes in The Netherlands
Background: In The Netherlands the incidence of neonatal herpes was 2.0-2.9 per 100,000 live births during the period 1981-1998. The low incidence warranted a rather conservative prevention policy. Objectives: To monitor for potential changes in the incidence of neonatal herpes in The Netherlands between 1999 and 2005, which may affect the prevention policy. Study design: Questionnaires were sent to all virological laboratories, the gynaecological and paediatric departments of every university hospital and half the number of the general hospitals in The Netherlands. The questionnaires pertained to the incidence of proven cases of neonatal herpes, the numbers of caesarean sections performed for the prevention of neonatal herpes and the numbers of pregnant women with genital herpes. Results: In the period 1999-2005 33 cases of neonatal herpes were reported, yielding an incidence of 3.2 cases per 100,000 live births per year. The estimated annual numbers of pregnant women with genital herpes ranged from 200 to 240. Approximately 9 caesarean sections were performed annually to prevent neonatal herpes. Conclusions: In The Netherlands neonatal herpes is still a rare condition. From the findings of this study it is concluded that it is not necessary to revise the Dutch guidelines for the prevention of neonatal herpes simplex infection.