Congenital cytomegalovirus infection: management update

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Purpose of reviewUntil recently, management options in congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) infection have been either conservative or termination of pregnancy. However, medical therapies aimed at reducing the risk of infection and/or its severity have recently been investigated.Recent findingsIn a phase 2 open label, nonrandomized trial, valaciclovir (ValACV) was given to women carrying a CMV-infected fetus. ValACV was associated with a greater proportion of asymptomatic neonates when compared with a historical cohort (82 vs. 43%). However, the study design and the small number of treated women limit its applicability. Even though initial observational data suggested that hyperimmune globulin (HIG) therapy in pregnancy was associated with a significantly lower risk of cCMV, its efficacy has not been borne out in a subsequent phase 2 randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind study [cCMV 30% in the HIG group, 44% in the placebo group (P = 0.13)]. Furthermore, 11% of fetuses in the HIG group had transient or permanent abnormalities, compared with 16% in the placebo group.SummaryValACV might have a promising role in the antenatal treatment of cCMV infection, but definitive recommendations require further research. The use of HIG should currently be limited to the research setting.Video abstract

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