Background: The European incidence of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) varies widely between 1- 3 in 30,000 live births. Neonatal HSV is associated with high morbidity and mortality, and any effective opportunities to reduce its incidence should be incorporated into management having carefully considered the possible adverse consequences of interventions. Historically, management of HSV in pregnancy has varied widely across Europe. The current 2010 European HSV guidelines attempted to bring consistency with best evidence based practice across Europe. However management still varies widely. The European Collaborative Clinical Group (ECCG) is a network of sexual health specialists under the umbrella of the International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI) who conduct questionnaire based research across the European Region. The aim of this study was a service evaluation of current practice in the management of HSV in pregnancy across the European region.
Methods: A number of European experts in the field of neonatal herpes were interviewed about controversies in management, and a case-based questionnaire developed based on their responses. The questionnaire was then reviewed and validated by the core group of the ECCG. It was then circulated electronically to the 120 sexual health specialists from 38 countries that make up the ECCG.
Results: Pilot results indicate that the management of neonatal herpes across Europe varies widely and that management is not always in line with the IUSTI European Guideline for the Management of Genital Herpes 2010. The full data set will be available by the conference.
Conclusions: An updated European Guideline for the Management of Genital Herpes is currently being developed to be published in 2014. The release of the updated guidelines may act as a prompt for standardisation of care across Europe to ensure that best practice is being followed.