About Congenital Varicella Syndrome

What is Congenital Varicella Syndrome?

Congenital Varicella Syndrome (CVS) is a rare condition that can occur when a pregnant woman is infected with the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. CVS can cause a range of birth defects, including skin scarring, limb deformities, eye problems, and neurological problems. It is estimated that 1 in every 10,000 to 20,000 pregnancies is affected by CVS.

What are the symptoms of Congenital Varicella Syndrome?

The symptoms of Congenital Varicella Syndrome vary depending on the severity of the infection, but may include:

-Skin abnormalities such as scarring, hypopigmentation, and/or hyperpigmentation

-Growth retardation



-Developmental delays


-Cerebral palsy



-Hearing loss

-Cleft lip or palate

-Cardiac defects

-Skeletal abnormalities

-Neurological deficits

What are the causes of Congenital Varicella Syndrome?

Congenital Varicella Syndrome (CVS) is caused by a mother contracting the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) during pregnancy. The virus can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta, resulting in a range of birth defects. These include limb and skin abnormalities, eye problems, central nervous system abnormalities, and other organ system defects.

What are the treatments for Congenital Varicella Syndrome?

The treatment for Congenital Varicella Syndrome depends on the severity of the symptoms. Treatment may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medications to help manage seizures, muscle spasms, and other symptoms. Surgery may be necessary to correct physical deformities. In some cases, antiviral medications may be prescribed to reduce the risk of recurrent infections.

What are the risk factors for Congenital Varicella Syndrome?

1. Maternal infection with varicella (chickenpox) during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

2. Maternal varicella infection within 5 days before or 2 days after delivery.

3. Maternal history of varicella infection before pregnancy.

4. Maternal history of exposure to varicella during pregnancy.

5. Maternal history of immunosuppression.

6. Maternal history of chronic illness.

7. Maternal history of smoking during pregnancy.

8. Maternal history of alcohol or drug use during pregnancy.

Is there a cure/medications for Congenital Varicella Syndrome?

At this time, there is no cure for Congenital Varicella Syndrome. However, there are medications that can be used to help manage the symptoms of the condition. These include antiviral medications, such as acyclovir, to help reduce the severity of the skin lesions, and immunosuppressants, such as prednisone, to help reduce inflammation. Additionally, physical and occupational therapy can help improve motor skills and physical functioning.