Newborn screening

Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 249-254

Public health and laboratory considerations regarding newborn screening for congenital cytomegalovirus

  • Sheila C. DollardAffiliated withNational Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Email author 
  • , Mark R. SchleissAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota
  • , Scott D. GrosseAffiliated withNational Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the most common infection in newborns worldwide and causes hearing loss and other neurological disability in 15–20% of infected infants. Only about half of the hearing loss resulting from congenital CMV infection is currently detected by universal newborn hearing screening because of late-onset hearing loss. Thus, much of the hearing loss and the majority of other CMV-associated disabilities remain undetected for years after birth and are never connected to CMV infection. Congenital CMV may be appropriate to include in national newborn screening (NBS) programs because it is more common than other disorders tested for by NBS programs and is a major cause of disability. Significant obstacles to the implementation of screening for congenital CMV include the lack of a standardized, high-throughput screening test and a protocol for follow-up of CMV-infected children. Nonetheless, screening newborns for congenital CMV infection merits further consideration.