Diagnosis and Screening for Cytomegalovirus Infection in Pregnant Women in Cuba as Prognostic Markers of Congenital Infection in Newborns: 2007–2008

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Background:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has established itself as the most significant cause of congenital infection in the developed world. The objective of this research was prenatal identification of pregnant women at risk for developing active infection due to HCMV as well as to diagnose congenitally infected newborns.Methods:A diagnostic algorithm based on specific immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgM, and, IgG avidity was used to screen serum from 1131 pregnant women enrolled prospectively from 3 municipalities from Havana City, Cuba during 2007–2008. Qualitative multiplex nested PCR and quantitative real time-based PCR testing for HCMV DNA were performed on urine and saliva specimens from women detected with active infection and from their newborns.Results:Most women were seropositive to HCMV (92.7%), with 2.38% (27 women) having active infection. Primary infection was detected in 20 pregnant women (1.77%) while 7 patients (0.62%) had active nonprimary infection. HCMV DNA was detected in specimens from 9 of the 27 pregnant women by both PCR methods. HCMV congenital infection was diagnosed in 12 (1.06%) of the 26 live children born from 25 mothers with active infection, for a vertical transmission rate of 46.2%. Two fetal deaths were reported from 2 women with active infection; furthermore 2 newborns were symptomatic at birth and 2 showed sequelae during the follow-up done until 6 months age.Conclusions:Mothers with active infection during the pregnancy and with HCMV excretion had significant risks, RR = 1.16 and RR = 1.35, respectively, to have congenitally infected children.

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