Author(s): Boppana SB, Fowler KB, Britt WJ, Stagno S, Pass RF
OBJECTIVES: To determine the frequency of symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in the offspring of women with a recurrent maternal CMV infection and to characterize the demographic and newborn findings. METHODS: Study subjects consisted of infants with symptomatic congenital CMV infection identified by a newborn virologic screening program at the University of Alabama Hospital between 1991 and 1997 and were enrolled in a long-term follow-up study. Maternal infections were categorized by an analysis of archival serum specimens collected before pregnancy and at the time of delivery. Demographic data and clinical findings at birth were collected from maternal and newborn hospital records and from parents at the time of initial evaluation. RESULTS: Of the 47 infants with symptomatic congenital CMV infection identified during the study period, 8 were born to mothers with a confirmed nonprimary or recurrent CMV infection. The type of maternal infection could be ascertained in only approximately 43% (20/47) of the children with symptomatic congenital CMV infection born at the University of Alabama Hospital during the study period. There were no significant differences in demographic characteristics of the recurrent infection group and the infants who were born to mothers with either primary CMV infection during pregnancy or unclassified maternal infection. Similarly, the range of severity of clinical abnormalities during the newborn period did not differ in the two groups of children. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in the incidence of sequelae at long-term follow-up in the two groups of children. CONCLUSIONS: Symptomatic congenital CMV infection can occur after a nonprimary or recurrent maternal infection. However, the exact incidence of symptomatic congenital CMV infection among children born to women with preexisting immunity remains to be defined.