Newborn Congenital Cytomegalovirus Screening Based on Clinical Manifestations and Evaluation of DNA-based Assays for In Vitro Diagnostics

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Objectives:To establish a strategy for congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) screening and to establish confirmatory assays approved as in vitro diagnostics by the regulatory authorities, we evaluated the clinical risks and performance of diagnostic assays developed by commercial companies, since cCMV infection has significant clinical consequences.Study Design:Newborns with clinical manifestations considered to be consequences of cCMV infection (n = 575) were screened for the presence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA in urine specimens collected onto filter paper placed in their diapers using the polymerase chain reaction–based assay reported previously. Liquid urine specimens were obtained from all of 20 CMV-positive newborns and 107 of the CMV-negative newborns identified in the screening. We used these 127 specimens, as well as 12 from cCMV cases identified in a previous study and 41 from healthy newborns, to compare the performance of 2 commercial assays and 1 in-house assay.Results:The risk-based screening allowed the identification of cCMV cases at least 10-fold more efficiently than our previous universal screening, although there appears to be a limit to the identification of asymptomatically infected newborns. Although CMV-specific IgM during pregnancy was found frequently in mothers of cCMV newborns, CMV-IgM alone is not an effective diagnostic marker. The urine-filter–based assay and the 3 diagnostic assays yielded identical results.Conclusions:Although risk-based and universal newborn screening strategies for cCMV infection each have their respective advantages and disadvantages, urine-filter–based assay followed by confirmatory in vitro diagnostics assays is able to identify cCMV cases efficiently.

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