Pregnacy virus warning

Pregnacy

A virus that causes hearing loss and intellectual disabilities in infants is being underdiagnosed, according to UNSW researchers, who are calling for routine screening for all pregnant women and newborns.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common viral infection that causes flu-like or no symptoms in healthy people. However, it can cause problems for pregnant women, particularly if the infection occurs for the first time during pregnancy.

It can result in hearing loss and in newborn babies and in severe cases can be fatal.

“CMV is greatly under-diagnosed,” said Professor William Rawlinson from UNSW and the South East Area Laboratory Services in a research paper published in the latest Australian Medical Journal.

A 10-year surveillance project between 1999 and 2009 using data collected through the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit showed that, while Australia was estimated to have about 1,800 cases of CMV a year, only five to 25 were being diagnosed.

Professor Rawlinson said CMV screening would be cost-effective and an antiviral therapy was available for treatment in infants before 30 days of age

“Most infected babies will be well. However, about half of the infants who develop disease will not show symptoms at birth and are unlikely to be identified without screening,” Professor Rawlinson said.

More information: Read the full story in The Age

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vaccine against CMV shows promise in clinical trial

Mar 18, 2009

A new vaccine has the potential to be the first to prevent maternal and congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) study published in the March 19 edition of the New En ...

Recommended for you

UN says Syria vaccine deaths was an NGO 'mistake'

5 hours ago

The recent deaths of Syrian children after receiving measles vaccinations was the result of a "mistake" by a non-governmental partner who mixed in a muscle relaxant meant for anesthesia, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general ...

First US child dies from enterovirus D68

5 hours ago

A child in the northeastern US state of Rhode Island has become the first to die from an ongoing outbreak of a respiratory virus, enterovirus D68, health officials said Wednesday.

US Ebola patient had contact with kids: governor

5 hours ago

A man who was diagnosed with Ebola in virus in Texas came in contact with young children, and experts are monitoring them for any signs of disease, governor Rick Perry said Wednesday.

UN worker dies of suspected Ebola in Liberia

6 hours ago

The United Nations mission in Liberia announced on Wednesday the first suspected victim among its employees of the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaging the impoverished west African nation.

User comments