Pass it On: Children Can Inherit Herpes Via Parental DNA

Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 14:21 in Health & Medicine

A chip off the old block, a kid inherits a multitude of his or her parents' traits, such as eye and hair color. But new evidence suggests that parents may also pass on a common virus to their offspring hereditarily. Researchers estimate that one of every 116 newborns may have human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infections that originated when the virus inserted its genetic material into that of their parents' DNA.HHV-6 is the virus responsible for roseola--a mild childhood infection resulting in high fevers and occasionally associated with a rash. In rare cases the infection is accompanied by seizures as well as respiratory and gastrointestinal complications. By age three, nearly all children have acquired the virus, most likely passed through the saliva of caretakers or other kids. [More]

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