Sunday, March 9, 2008

Blood pressure linked to fetal viral infection

Pre-eclampsia, the high blood pressure in pregnancy that can endanger both mother and baby, may be associated with a virus infection of the fetus, an Australian study has found.

The scientists tested baby’s blood within five days of birth for the DNA or RNA of eight different viruses, including five strains of herpes. Virus exposure was associated especially highly with pre-eclampsia. Mothers of babies who tested positive for any virus were more than five times as likely to have had pre-eclampsia, and those whose babies tested positive for a herpes virus were almost six times as likely.

The study appears in the March issue of The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.



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