Author(s): Bello C, Whittle H
A 15 month longitudinal study of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in 178 Gambian mothers and their babies was undertaken. Twenty five (14%) of the babies were congenitally infected despite the fact that 87% of their mothers were antibody positive to the virus. Two of the 25 congenitally infected infants had evidence of severe neurological damage; skin sepsis was also a prominent feature in congenitally infected infants. The other children soon became infected. At 6 months of age, 53% of the infants were shedding virus either in urine or saliva. By the age of 12 months 86% of the infants had serological evidence of CMV infection. Preliminary evidence suggests that sibling to sibling infection in crowded compounds might be a major route of transmission.