According to Popular Science, it was widely reported that maternal herpes infection was linked to autism. It's important to understand that the study found that a previous infection is not linked to an increased autism risk, but rather actually becoming infected with HSV-2 during early pregnancy is what was associated with a two-fold risk for a child being diagnosed with the spectrum disorder.
"We believe the mother's immune response to HSV-2 could be disrupting fetal central nervous system development, raising risk for autism," explains Milada Mahic, of the Center for Infection and Immunity and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, about the reason the risk goes up.
More importantly, as senior author W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity said, "The cause or causes of most cases of autism are unknown." He adds, "But evidence suggests a role for both genetic and environmental factors. Our work suggests that inflammation and immune activation may contribute to risk. Herpes simplex virus-2 could be one of any number of infectious agents involved."
In other words, becoming infected with herpes during pregnancy is only one of many factors that could cause autism. Could. The truth is we don't yet know exactly how or why autism occurs.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.