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Study on congenital CMV infection among children

By May 20, 2021December 20th, 2021No Comments
CMV Action illustration

Study on congenital CMV infection among children

A study on congenital CMV (cCMV) infection is being led by Dr Heather Bailey, Lecturer in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at UCL Institute for Global Health. The project is a first-step study to explore how best to design a future study on the impact of CMV on children born with the infection.

The study is now closed and we will report the findings when they are published.

What is this project about?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the most common infection that babies are born with in the UK and it is thought that around 1 in 1000 babies will be damaged by congenital CMV. The most common problem is hearing loss, but this may not be apparent at birth. There are many unanswered questions about the consequences of congenital CMV infection for child health.

Why do this project?

When babies with symptoms of CMV infection are treated soon after birth, this can reduce hearing loss. Newborns without symptoms are much less likely to have hearing problems but some will, and hearing loss can also progress and become more severe over time. At the moment babies are not routinely screened for CMV infection at birth because it is not clear which babies will benefit from treatment. Better information is needed about the consequences of congenital CMV infection to inform decisions around neonatal screening and treatment.

What will we do?

This project aims to understand how we can best study congenital CMV in a future study, and particularly its consequences for babies who do not have symptoms at birth. In this first-step study, we are planning to investigate what information is available from the newborn hearing screening database on all babies and to link this with CMV laboratory tests results for children already tested at one hospital as part of their clinical care (using newborn bloodspot screening “heel prick” samples). A better understanding of the information available will help us to design further research that aims to improve testing and treatment for congenital CMV infection and thus reduce hearing loss.