Neonatal herpes should be a reportable disease
Neonatal herpes is a devastating disease, the most serious complication of genital herpes, one of the most common serious congenital or perinatal infections, and the most frequent complication of sexually transmitted infections among children. Nevertheless, neonatal herpes is not reportable to health authorities in most states. The potential for prevention has been enhanced by recent diagnostic and therapeutic advances, and the disease meets widely accepted criteria for reporting, including incidence rates that exceed those of comparable conditions, epidemiologic instability, disease severity, direct and indirect socioeconomic costs, concern by persons at risk, the potential for prevention by public health interventions, and the prospect that the resulting data would influence public health policy. The absence of national surveillance contributes to beliefs by healthcare providers and the public health community that genital and neonatal herpes are uncommon conditions that affect small segments of society, beliefs that directly interfere with prevention. Neonatal herpes should be a reportable condition.