Herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes only 2–4% of all acute hepatitis but has high morbidity and mortality. Pregnancy is a risk factor for HSV hepatitis. We describe a case of gestational HSV hepatitis.
A 32-year old woman, gravida 2 para 1, presented at 38 2/7 weeks of gestation with back pain and fetal tachycardia. She became febrile after admission, had spontaneous rupture of membranes, and was delivered by cesarean for malpresentation. Postpartum, she became persistently febrile and developed transaminitis, symptomatic hypotension, and pancytopenia despite antibiotics. Imaging revealed acute liver injury, splenomegaly, pleural effusions, and cardiomyopathy. Serum polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening identified HSV-1 infection. The patient recovered on acyclovir. There was no evidence of neonatal seroconversion.
Herpes simplex virus hepatitis causes significant morbidity, and pregnant women are susceptible to severe infections. Pregnant or peripartum women with acute febrile hepatitis require prompt evaluation for HSV with serum PCR screening.