Herpes virus likely trigger for pregnancy hypertension

February 18th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Feb 18 (IANS) Viral infection has a bearing on high blood pressure in pregnant women, says a new study that makes the connection between the two for the first time. The study, by researchers at the University of Adelaide, notes that pregnancy hypertension, left untreated, can trigger epileptic fits, claiming the lives of both the baby and the mother.

It is the cause of significant maternal deaths in developing countries, says the study, whose findings have been published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

The study, which co-related, for the first time, viral infection (viruses of herpes group) with pregnancy-induced hypertensive disease (pre-eclampsia) and pre-term birth, detected the presence of viral nucleic acid in blood samples taken from 1,326 newborn babies.

More than 400 of these babies were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

“Further studies are now required to look at the link between viral exposure in pregnancy and genetic susceptibility to adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as high blood pressure, premature delivery and cerebral palsy,” said Alastair MacLennan, who headed the research group.

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