Author: Mohamed Mahrous, Medical writer, Ontario, Canada and DermNet NZ Editor-in-Chief: A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand. February 2018.
Upper respiratory tract infections are common in pregnancy and are generally no more serious than when not pregnant. However, the infections listed here are important causes of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. The risk that the infection will harm the fetus is often greater if infected in early pregnancy.
Refer also to listeriosis, a cause of fetal loss.
The acronym TORCH has been used as a reminder of infections that cause congenital defects. The TORCH complex represents:
"Others" represent syphilis (a bacterial infection), parvovirus B19 (B19V, cause of fifth disease), varicella-zoster virus (VZV, cause of chickenpox), measles virus, enteroviruses, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and zika virus. Other viruses suspected of causing intrauterine infection are West Nile virus, adenovirus and hepatitis E virus.
The TORCH viruses are listed alphabetically below.
Pregnant women should take care to avoid contact with persons with viral infections and to wash hands frequently when handling food, animals, and children. If exposure to TORCH infections does occur, the patient should seek immediate medical assistance. Pregnant women should be warned about the risks of travel to regions in which relevant infections are endemic.
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