Pediatric Congenital Infections

Pediatric Congenital Infections



A congenital infection happens when a virus is passed to a baby during pregnancy or delivery.

Expanded overview

A congenital (present at birth) infection is caused by a virus. The infection is passed to the baby through the placenta during pregnancy, or may be in the birth canal during delivery.

When an unborn fetus or infant (birth to 1 year*) catches the virus, the effects of the virus are much more severe. These children may suffer from cognitive disorders, hearing loss, autism spectrum disorder or other complications. In extreme cases, a congenital infection may be life-threatening.


The types of viruses that may cause congenital infections include:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Group B streptococcus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Herpes simplex
  • Human immune deficiency virus (HIV)
  • Mycoplasmosis
  • Parvovirus
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Syphilis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Varicella zoster (chicken pox)


Symptoms of congenital infections may be seen during or after pregnancy.

Symptoms during pregnancy

  • Blood test for both mother and baby show signs of virus
  • Symptoms of the virus found in the pregnant mother
  • Ultrasound test shows signs of abnormal physical condition of fetus

Symptoms after pregnancy

*Age of infants as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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