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Does screening for congenital cytomegalovirus at birth improve longer term hearing outcomes?
  1. Cathie Hilditch1,2,
  2. Bianca Liersch3,
  3. Nicola Spurrier4,5,
  4. Emily J Callander6,
  5. Celia Cooper7,
  6. Amy K Keir1,2,8
  1. 1 Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children Theme, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. 2 Robinson Research Institute and the Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  3. 3 Children’s Audiology Service, Women’s and Children’s Health Network, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  4. 4 South Australian Department of Health and Ageing, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  5. 5 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  6. 6 Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicin, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  7. 7 Department of Infectious Diseases, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  8. 8 Department of Neonatal Medicine, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amy K Keir, Department of Neonatal Medicine, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, SA, 5006; amy.keir{at}


Currently, the diagnosis of congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) infection in most highly resourced countries is based on clinical suspicion alone. This means only a small proportion of cCMV infections are diagnosed. Identification, through either universal or targeted screening of asymptomatic newborns with cCMV, who would previously have gone undiagnosed, would allow for potential early treatment with antiviral therapy, ongoing audiological surveillance and early intervention if sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is identified. This paper systematically reviews published papers examining the potential benefits of targeted and universal screening for newborn infants with cCMV. We found that the treatment of these infants with antiviral therapy remains controversial, and clinical trials are currently underway to provide further answers. The potential benefit of earlier identification and intervention (eg, amplification and speech therapy) of children at risk of later-onset SNHL identified through universal screening is, however, clearer.

  • general paediatrics
  • infectious diseases
  • neonatology
  • neurodevelopment

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  • Contributors AKK had the idea for the article. CH performed the literature search. All authors wrote the paper together. AKK is the guarantor for the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Not applicable.