Management of human cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy

Maria Grazia Revello, Maria Angela Rustico, Giuseppe Gerna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a well recognized leading pathogen causing deafness and mental retardation in congenitally infected infants. About 40% of pregnant women with primary infection do transmit the infection in utero. Although less frequently, congenital infection may also occur in the presence of pre-existing maternal immunity. Clinical consequences in congenitally infected newborns include acute symptoms at birth and long term sequelae (hearing deficits, psicomotor retardation). The social and economic burden associated with congenital HCMV infection is well recognized, nevertheless the problem is still greatly ignored by health authorities and, to some extent, by the scientific/medical community as well. In fact, presently, women are neither informed nor tested for HCMV antibody in any country in the world. In the absence of screening, HCMV infections undergo mostly undiagnosed during pregnancy and no therapy of proven efficacy is available for those women with primary infection. Finally, no vaccine is currently available. Over the years, a huge amount of knowledge has cumulated concerning both diagnostic possibilities and the natural history of HCMV infection in immunocompetent individuals. Diagnostic values of different assays for the diagnosis in the mother, fetus and newborn infant are now well established. In addition, reliability of positive and negative predictive values of different assays used in prenatal diagnosis has greatly improved overtime. Therefore, quality of both counseling and informed choice has improved together with overall improvement of management of pregnancies complicated by primary HCMV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCytomegalovirus Infections: Risk Factors, Causes and Management
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781619422216
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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