APH 1998, 56, 233-250:

Cytomegalovirus infection: epidemiology and association with conginental malformations.

A. De Schryver, G. De Backer, and L. Van Renterghem

Keywords: conginental malformations, cytomegalovirus, epidemiology, public health

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common viral cause of intrauterine infection, and is the major infectious factor known to be associated with congenital mental retardation and deafness. The number of children with serious handicaps attributable to CMV is comparable to that of children born with congenital rubella in a non-epidemic year in the era before vaccination. Studies have shown the importance of breast feeding and child-rearing practices. The occupational risk for health care workers and child care providers is variable, but clearly exists particularly when caring for small children is considered.

Prevention policy is geared towards health care workers and screening of blood and blood products. In health care workers and child carers prevention must be based on careful handwashing and avoidance of contact with excretions and secretions of children. Screening of pregnant women is currently not recommended for public health purposes.