Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2) is mainly sexually transmitted, causing genital herpes. The global prevalence of HSV-2 infection is estimated to be 11.3 %, but can be higher in specific risk groups like AIDS-patients and female sex workers1. HSV-2 infection is a risk factor for HIV transmission and is associated with an increased risk of acquisition of HIV.2
Neonatal herpes, which can be caused by HSV‑2 as well as HSV‑1, has the most severe implications and is usually acquired during the intrapartum period through exposure in the genital tract2. Subclinical viral shedding and unrecognized infections seem to be major factors in transmission.1 Genital HSV infection is frequently not recognized and diagnosis based on the clinical presentation alone has a low sensitivity.2
Type-specific serologic tests for the detection of IgG, based on the use of recombinant HSV-1 glycoprotein G (gG1) and the recombinant HSV-2 glycoprotein G (gG2), allow the identification of silent carriers of HSV-2 infection in patients with or without pre-existing antibodies to HSV-1 3,4,5. Type-specific serology should guide testing and result interpretation. This is important for a proper development of strategies to prevent transmission to partners and neonates, counselling, and management of the disease.6 IgM testing is not recommended in routine clinical practice6.