Neonatal screen for symptomatic congenital CMV

CONGENITAL cytomegalovirus (cCMV) is vastly underdiagnosed and infrequently treated in Australia, suggesting neonatal screening is indicated in symptomatic cases, experts say.

Drawing on Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit data, researchers found 195 cases of cCMV in the decade to 2009, much lower than the predicted incidence of 1800 infants per year with the disease.

Ninety per cent of the infected infants were symptomatic, with 80% having suspected cCMV before two months of age, but only 15 were treated with antiviral agents.

Study author Professor Bill Rawlinson, senior medical virologist at South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service, advocated selective neonatal cCMV screening.

“Certainly under-recognition is leading to some babies not having access to treatment or not contributing to the understanding of the disease,” he said.

“Neonatal screening, which can be done on urine as a simple test