Untreated herpes during pregnancy can cause blindness in newborns – Medical expert

Babies used to illustrate story
Babies used to illustrate story

A general medical practitioner at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Jos, Panshak Tenmang, has advised pregnant women with herpes to treat the disease to avoid blindness in newborns.

Mr Tenmang, a Senior Registrar with JUTH, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Jos.

He said blindness or eye infection could occur through the birth canal at the point of delivery or transmitted to the child through the placenta or the umbilical cord.

According to him, the infant’s cornea (the transparent membrane that covers the front of the eyeball) can be affected or damaged.

NAN reports that Herpes is a contagious skin disease caused by a virus which gives rise to watery blisters and can be transmitted sexually.

Mr Tenmang urged pregnant women to ensure they go for their routine antenatal as it could be detected and treated to prevent the unborn child from being born with an eye infection or a damaged cornea.

He said that untreated or poorly treated upper respiratory tract infection and dental infection in a child could also lead to orbital cellulitis, which could lead to blindness.

Mr Tenmang explained that Orbital cellulite is most commonly caused by an acute spread of infection in the eye socket from either the adjacent sinus or blood.

He said that besides blindness, it could also lead to decreased vision, loss of sensorium or death.

Mr Tenmang cautioned parents against self-medicating their children while urging them to see a paediatrician and adhere to the stipulated drug dosage to prevent diseases. (NAN)

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