Congenital infection is the infection transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery. This infection is the potential to affect fetal development and long-term neurodevelopmental outcome adversely. The spectrum of contagious pathogens causing congenital infections. It holds several infections such as the Zika virus, HIV, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.
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Some babies with congenital infection have health problems visible at birth or later during childhood. However, in the most severe cases, the infection can cause the death of an unborn baby and can lead to pregnancy loss.
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Some babies with congenital infection have signs at birth. These signs include:
- Low birth weight
- Enlarged liver and spleen
Some babies with signs of congenital infection at birth may have long-term health problems, such as:
- Hearing loss
- Developmental and motor delay
- Vision loss
- Microcephaly (small head)
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Some babies have silent symptoms of congenital infection at birth. In addition, hearing loss may exist at birth or develop later, even in babies who passed the newborn hearing test.
How to know if your baby has a congenital infection?
Congenital infection is not easy initially. Congenital infections in a fetus and newborn baby are asymptomatic and silent. However, some can be serious and cause serious damage to the body resulting in congenital disabilities or death.
Even if the infection is silent, it can quietly damage the body, causing developmental problems that only appear months or even years later.
Diagnosis of congenital infection can sometimes be made based upon the mother’s symptoms or the baby’s physical findings before or after birth and blood tests on both mother and baby.
However, sometimes a complicated medical workup cannot prove congenital infection.
Most people with congenital infection have silent symptoms and aren’t aware that they have been infected. A woman who is infected with congenital can pass the virus to her developing baby during pregnancy.
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How is a congenital infection contracted?
A pregnant woman can pass the congenital virus to her unborn baby. This virus in the woman’s blood can contract through the placenta and can infect the baby.
This can appear when a pregnant woman is infected with congenital for the first time or is infected with congenital again during pregnancy.
People who have regular contact with young children are more likely to get a congenital infection because young children are common source of congenital infection.
By the age of 5, one in three children has been infected with congenital having silent symptoms. In addition, the congenital infection can be present in a child’s body fluids for months after they become infected.
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Medical complications associated with congenital infection
The following medical complications may be seen in people with congenital infections.
- Brain damage
- Groin hernias
- Heart problems
- Rubella infections
- Eye and skin infections
Developmental complications associated with congenital infection
Babies with congenital infections may suffer certain damage, including:
- Damage developing brain and sensory organs
- Hearing loss
- Herpes and Rubella infections
- Behavioral disorders
- Mental retardation
- Destruction of the tissues of the eye
What can you do after your baby goes home?
Babies born with a congenital infection will frequently show serious developmental disabilities early in life. On the other hand, babies born with silent congenital infections may not show disabilities for months or years.
For this, it is important to find out if your baby was born with known or suspected congenital infections. Close, early follow-up will be important at the earliest time possible for necessary interventional therapies.
Congenital infection can diagnose by testing a newborn baby’s blood, urine, or saliva. Must collect these for testing within two to three weeks after the baby is born to confirm a diagnosis of congenital infection.
For babies with signs of congenital infection at birth, antiviral medications or Valganciclovir can improve hearing and developmental outcomes.
However, Valganciclovir has serious side effects and has only been studied in babies with signs of congenital infection. Therefore, there is limited information on the effectiveness of Valganciclovir to treat infants with hearing loss only.
The instructions given by your doctor can help keep you healthy and prevent any complications. Also, it would be best if you see your doctor for regular checkups.
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