(See editorial commentary by Pass, pages 582–584.)
Background. Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a public health issue, and implementation of neonatal screening has been debated. Detection of CMV DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of dried blood spots (DBS) routinely collected for metabolic screening from all newborns has been proposed for congenital CMV infection screening. The goal of this study was to prospectively assess the performance of 2 CMV PCR assays of DBS for CMV neonatal screening in a selected population of neonates.
Methods. We studied prospective congenital CMV screening in a population of neonates either born with symptoms compatible with congenital CMV or born to mothers with a history of primary infection during pregnancy. For each neonate, 2 CMV PCR assays of DBS were blindly performed in parallel with a gold standard technique (ie, CMV PCR of a urine sample).
Results. Two hundred seventy-one neonates were studied, and CMV infection, defined by a positive urine sample in the first week of life, was confirmed in 64 (23.6%). Nineteen infected (29.7%) neonates were symptomatic, and 45 (70.3%) were asymptomatic. The ranges of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for the 2 CMV PCR assays of DBS were 95.0%–100%; 98.1%–99.0%; 94.1%–96.9%, and 98.5%–100%, respectively.
Conclusions. The sensitivity and specificity of both CMV PCR assays of DBS to identify congenital CMV were very high in this population of neonates with a high risk of sequelae. These new data should be considered in the ongoing debate on the appropriateness of the use of DBS as a sample to screen for congenital CMV infection.
Journal Article. 4146 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology
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