Maternal CMV link with stillbirth underestimated

CYTOMEGALOVIRUS (CMV) may be behind many more unexplained stillbirths than previously recognised, Australian research suggests.

Using both PCR and immu­no­histochemistry, Professor Bill Rawlinson from Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, and colleagues, found CMV DNA was present in 15% of a series of 130 sequential stillborn infants without a previously recognised cause of death.

Further, fetal thrombotic vasculopathy was associated with 60% of the CMV-infected cases, compared with 28% of uninfected cases, they found.

Commenting, infectious diseases specialist Professor Bernie Hudson, from the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, said CMV infection during pregnancy was underestimated.

“It is probably one of the most common infections in developed countries that is the cause of congenital abnormalities and this study basically bears that out,” he said.

The authors said maternal primary CMV infection