Maternal to child transmission of viral infections can have devastating outcomes on the developing fetus and the neonate. Effective prevention and screening programs for women of childbearing age are key factors in influencing the outcomes for the neonate. Furthermore, early identification of viral infections in neonates is critical to the success of the treatment plan. This article describes the mechanism of maternal to child transmission of viral infections and examines the general approach to the neonate with suspected viral infection. The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neonatal cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, and human immunodeficiency virus infections are presented. Lastly, current challenges and controversies related to the management of viral infections in the neonate are discussed.
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