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Roseola Virus and Pregnancy

Human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) and human herpes virus 7 (HHV-7) belong to a genus of herpes viruses known as Roseolovirus. Roseola infantum is one such viral infection that is caused by these viruses. Roseola infection mostly affects children who fall in the age group of 6 months to 2 years. Since a majority of children are exposed to this virus, the immune system prepares itself by developing antibodies during childhood itself. This is the reason why instances of adults getting infected with roseola virus are rare. Those who haven't been exposed to the virus earlier, can, however, get affected by this viral disease later in life. Pregnant women who haven't been exposed to this virus earlier, may contract this viral infection if they come in contact with an infected person. In this article, we will look into the connection between roseola virus and pregnancy complications.

Roseola Virus Transmission During Pregnancy
As mentioned earlier, a woman who has been exposed to the roseola virus during early childhood years or adolescence, would already have developed immunity. Under these circumstances, exposure to roseola virus during pregnancy would not adversely affect the pregnancy. If a woman is exposed for the first time to the virus, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, she may become susceptible to certain pregnancy complications. Exposure to this virus could adversely affect the fetal development. Wondering how this virus may be transmitted to humans? It is believed that roseola virus is transmitted through respiratory secretions or saliva.

If a pregnant woman comes in direct contact with an infected person, or is in close proximity to the infected person when he/she coughs or sneezes, the virus may become airborne and get transmitted through the secretions. Once the virus settles into the body, symptoms may start appearing within a couple of weeks. Fever, runny nose, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and loss of appetite are some of the symptoms that one may experience. Once the body temperature comes back to normal, red colored rashes develop rapidly on the torso, and spread to the face, neck, arms and the legs.

Roseola Virus and Pregnancy Problems
Now that you have some idea on how this viral infection occurs and what its symptoms are, let's move on to the effects of roseola infection on pregnancy. Roseola virus is similar to the varicella virus and herpes virus in structure, and therefore, subsequent exposure is not associated with serious health risks that are linked with first time exposure. Those who have not suffered from this condition earlier, must, therefore, be extremely cautious. Pregnancy is a time, when the immune system is suppressed and this makes pregnant women more susceptible to infections. Those who already have a compromised immune system need to be extremely cautious. To be on the safer side, pregnant women must stay away from people infected with roseola virus.

There is a great need to maintain distance from people who are down with such viral infections. Let me tell you about the risks associated with the first time exposure. If a woman is infected with roseola virus for the first time, that too during the first trimester of pregnancy, she may become susceptible to miscarriage. Exposure to this virus could also have a negative impact on the development of the fetus and may result in birth defects. Though instances of pregnant women developing roseola infection are quite rare, if a pregnant woman does experience the aforementioned symptoms, she must immediately consult a doctor. It is believed that an antiviral drug called ganciclovir can counter the effects of HHV-6 and its use may prove beneficial in the treatment of roseola during pregnancy.

This was a brief overview on roseola virus and pregnancy problems. Since roseola infection commonly affects children, a majority of people have been exposed to it earlier. Though subsequent exposure doesn't pose serious health risks, there is a need to be cautious during pregnancy. Pregnant women, especially those who haven't suffered from this infection in childhood, must maintain distance from those infected with this virus. Such precautionary measures will certainly lower the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. If a woman experiences any such symptoms during pregnancy, she must seek medical assistance at the earliest.

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