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Congenital CMV could soon be prevented

23 June, 2008

Congenital CMV could soon be prevented

Preliminary research into new methods of screening for pregnant women who have developed the viral infection cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been completed by the Birth Defects Foundation (BDF), in collaboration with St George’s Hospital, London.

Midwives magazine: February 2002

 

Preliminary research into new methods of screening for pregnant women who have developed the viral infection cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been completed by the Birth Defects Foundation (BDF), in collaboration with St George’s Hospital, London. 

 

CMV is a common infection that belongs to the herpes virus group. If a mother catches the virus during pregnancy, then like rubella, the virus can infect and damage the baby.

 

Between 1000 to 1500 babies are born in the UK each year with congenital CMV. Of these, 10% to 15% will suffer possible sight or hearing impairment, organ enlargement, mental retardation, cerebral palsy and brain calcification.

 

At present there is no procedure to identify CMV in pregnant women. According to Dr Sharland, senior lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St George’s Hospital, London, who headed the study, screening could possibly be carried out at the same time as other routine tests.

 

Under the study, the DNA of the CMV virus was screened in urine specimens in over 600 pregnant women who took part in the research.

 

Dr Sharland said: ‘Other infectious diseases, such as rubella/German measles, have been successfully eradicated through research, screening and vaccination, and it is theoretically possible to do the same with CMV.’ 

 

 


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