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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2013 October;65(5):541-63


language: Italian

Congenital cytomegalovirus infection: current status and future perspectives

Avarello I., Cancemi A., D’ambra A.

Dipartimento Materno Infantile e Scienze Radiologiche, Università degli Studi di Catania, Catania, Italia


In recent years, infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) was the subject of numerous studies, one side being the most frequent congenital infection in newborns and one that determines the increased incidence of sequelae distance (about one third of childhood deafness is due to CMV), and the other one of the most frequent and serious opportunistic infections in immunocompromised individuals. Of newborns with congenital infection, approximately 10% are symptomatic at birth. Of the remaining 90%, asymptomatic at birth, 10-15% will develop sequelae from a distance. Regarding the possibility of vertical transmission of the disease from mother to fetus, the debate is still open on the usefulness or not to set a screening during pregnancy in order to prevent or limit the damage caused fetal infection. Despite detailed knowledge about the epidemiology and pathogenesis of CMV disease in pregnant women, this infection remains largely unknown to most women. The opportunity of a serological screening is important, however, since more than 90% of primary CMV infection in pregnancy are asymptomatic and may remain asymptomatic in the fetus. The education on methods to prevent transmission of CMV, particularly among young women of childbearing age, must continue until an effective vaccine becomes available. In this article we summarize the current concepts regarding the epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptoms and prevention of CMV disease, with particular focus on strategies to improve awareness of the risk of CMV infection in women of childbearing age.

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