Approximately 15% of preterm infants may develop postnatal cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection from seropositive mothers via breast milk and are at risk for neurological sequelae in childhood. The aims of this study were to assess the effects and outcomes on growth, neurodevelopmental status, and hearing in very low birth weight (VLBW) premature infants with postnatal CMV infection via breast milk at the corrected age of 12 and 24 months.
The prospective follow-up study population comprised all living preterm children (n = 55) with a birth weight ≤1500 g and gestational age of ≤35 weeks, who had been participated in our “postnatal CMV infection via breast milk” studies in 2000 and 2009, respectively. The cohort of children was assessed at 12 and 24 months. Clinical outcomes were documented during hospitalization and after discharge. Long-term outcomes included anthropometry, audiologic tests, gross motor quotient, Infant International Battery, and neurodevelopmental outcomes; all were assessed at postcorrected age in 12 and 24 months during follow-up visits.
Of the 55 infants enrolled in the study (4 noninfected infants were excluded because their parents did not join this follow-up program later), 14 infants postnatally acquired CMV infection through breast-feeding (infected group) and were compared with 41 infants without CMV infection (control group). No significant differences were observed between the groups with regard to baseline characteristics, clinical outcomes, anthropometry, or psychomotor and mental development on the Bayley scale of infant development. None of the infants had CMV-related death or permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
Transmission of CMV from seropositive mother via breast milk to preterm infants does not appear at this time to have major adverse effects on clinical outcomes, growth, neurodevelopmental status, and hearing function at 12 and 24 months corrected age.