Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 1490–1495 | Cite as

An Italian Prospective Experience on the Association Between Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection and Autistic Spectrum Disorder

  • Francesca GarofoliEmail author
  • Giuseppina Lombardi
  • Simona Orcesi
  • Camilla Pisoni
  • Iolanda Mazzucchelli
  • Micol Angelini
  • Umberto Balottin
  • Mauro Stronati
Original Paper


The aim of this retrospective study, with prospective data collection, was to correlate congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to define its prevalence. Seventy proven congenitally-infected infants, born between 2007 and 2012, were referred to our centre for CMV diagnosis and follow-up, which consisted of a consolidated protocol allowing an early evaluation of autism. We considered four children 2-year old, two of whom, at the age of 3, were diagnosed with ASD demonstrating a 2–3 fold higher prevalence (2.86%), than that in general Italian population (0.66–1.36%).Our protocol enabled us to make the earliest diagnosis and highlight the role of the virus among other causes of autism, which may be a long term sequela of congenital CMV.


Congenital Cytomegalovirus Neonate Autism spectrum disorder Prevalence 



We thank Claudia Cova for her technical assistance during the whole study, from Neonatal Unit and NICU and SRL, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, Pavia, Italy. We thank Karen Doyle, a native English speaker, for revising the manuscript. We thank all the families who volunteered to participate in this study.

Author Contributions

Study concept and design—Garofoli, Lombardi, Orcesi, Pisoni, Balottin Stronati. Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data—Garofoli, Orcesi, Lombardi, Pisoni, Stronati, Mazzucchelli, Angelini. Drafting of the manuscript—Garofoli, Lombardi, Orcesi, Pisoni, Mazzucchelli. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content—All authors. Statistical analysis—Garofoli, Mazzucchelli. Obtained funding—None. Administrative, technical, or material support—Angelini. Study supervision—Garofoli, Lombardi, Mazzucchelli, Orcesi, Balottin Stronati.


All the authors state that there is no the study sponsors in any party of the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Moreover a local approval by our Ethical Committee was obtained too.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study, in particular from both the parents, being the patients newborns/children.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neonatal Immunology Laboratory, Neonatal Intensive Care UnitFondazione IRCCS Policlinico San MatteoPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Neonatal Unit and Neonatal Intensive Care UnitFondazione IRCCS Policlinico San MatteoPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Unit of Child Neurology and PsychiatryIRCCS C. Mondino National Neurological InstitutePaviaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Internal Medicine and TherapeuticsUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly

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