2021 05 - Invitation for feedback on a study on congenital CMV infection among children


Invitation for feedback on a study on congenital CMV infection among children

A new 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.

Heather is interested in receiving comments and questions on the research project. She is particularly interested in what families affected by cCMV think about analysing data that are routinely collected in healthcare, and linking information up from different sources.

A focus group of 75 minutes will be held online (on Zoom) to discuss the project, and participants will receive a shopping voucher as a thank you for their time. If you are interested in taking part in the focus group, or would like to get in touch with Heather with any questions or comments, please contact: heather.bailey@ucl.ac.uk.

Heather explains more about the project below:

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.


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