THE vulnerability of immature tissues to viral infection is nowhere more detrimental to future health and potential than in the developing nervous system. In man several fetal and neonatal infections arc known to cause acute or chronic encephalitis, but in laboratory animals, such infections have been shown to cause a wider spectrum of disease, including major malformations of the brain and spinal cord. Viral infections of the gravid mother or neonate have the potential to affect development by a variety of mechanisms (Table 1). Abortion can probably result solely from the constitutional effects of infection on the mother,1 and abortion.
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