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Congenital Infection

What is a congenital infection?

Congenital infections can affect the unborn fetus or newborn infant. They can affect the baby’s brain, vision or hearing. They are generally caused by viruses that may be picked up by the baby at any time during the pregnancy up through the time of delivery.

Congenital infections can also go unrecognized because the mother may not have symptoms of being sick and the baby may not get tested. A mother can also have a viral illness during pregnancy that does not pass directly to the baby, like the flu virus. When a mother has an illness during pregnancy and fever, special evaluation of the baby before and after delivery may be helpful.

What are the types of congenital infections?

Our program evaluates the following congenital infections:

  • Chagas
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • Enterovirus
  • Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
  • Lyme
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)
  • Malaria
  • New emerging threats, such as COVID-19
  • Parvovirus B19
  • Rubella
  • Serious bacterial infection or other viral infection in the mother, including seasonal influenza
  • Syphilis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Zika virus

Contact Information

For questions about the Congenital Infection Program or if you have been exposed to a congenital infection, please call 202-476-7409 or email us.