Background: The effect of pityriasis rosea (PR) on the outcome of pregnancy has not been previously reported. Objective: We sought to investigate the possible impact of PR in pregnant women. Methods: In all, 38 women who developed PR during pregnancy were observed. In one of them, who developed PR at 10 weeks' gestation and aborted 2 weeks later, plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, maternal skin, and placental and embryonic tissues were studied by quantitative calibrated real-time polymerase chain reaction for human herpesviruses (HHV)-6 and -7. Controls included plasma from 36 healthy blood donors, plasma and paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 12 patients with other dermatitides, and from placental and embryonic tissues from one woman who presented with a 19-week intrauterine fetal death. Results: Of the 38 women, 9 had a premature delivery and 5 miscarried. In particular, 62% of the women who developed PR within 15 weeks' gestation aborted. Neonatal hypotonia, weak motility, and hyporeactivity were noted in 6 cases. In the patient studied in detail, HHV-6 DNA was detected in plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, skin, and placenta and embryonic tissues, whereas HHV-7 DNA was absent. HHV-6 p41 antigen was detected by immunohistochemistry in skin lesions, placenta, and embryonic tissues. No herpesvirus DNA was detected in plasma and tissues from control subjects. Limitations: This is a case series study with a small number of patients. Conclusion: PR may be associated with an active HHV-6 infection. In pregnancy, PR may foreshadow premature delivery with neonatal hypotonia and even fetal demise especially if it develops within 15 weeks' gestation.
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