Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Economic cost of congenital CMV in the UK
  1. Jenny Retzler1,2,
  2. Nick Hex1,
  3. Chris Bartlett1,
  4. Anne Webb1,
  5. Sharon Wood3,
  6. Caroline Star3,
  7. Paul Griffiths4,
  8. Christine E Jones5
  1. 1 York Health Economics Consortium, University of York, York, UK
  2. 2 Department of Psychology, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK
  3. 3 CMV Action, London, UK
  4. 4 Centre for Virology, UCL Medical School, London, UK
  5. 5 Faculty of Medicine and Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jenny Retzler, Department of Psychology, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK; j.retzler{at}


Objective Congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) is the most common infectious cause of congenital disability. It can disrupt neurodevelopment, causing lifelong impairments including sensorineural hearing loss and developmental delay. This study aimed, for the first time, to estimate the annual economic burden of managing cCMV and its sequelae in the UK.

Design The study collated available secondary data to develop a static cost model.

Setting The model aimed to estimate costs of cCMV in the UK for the year 2016.

Patients Individuals of all ages with cCMV.

Main outcome measures Direct (incurred by the public sector) and indirect (incurred personally or by society) costs associated with management of cCMV and its sequelae.

Results The model estimated that the total cost of cCMV to the UK in 2016 was £732 million (lower and upper estimates were between £495 and £942 million). Approximately 40% of the costs were directly incurred by the public sector, with the remaining 60% being indirect costs, including lost productivity. Long-term impairments caused by the virus had a higher financial burden than the acute management of cCMV.

Conclusions The cost of cCMV is substantial, predominantly stemming from long-term impairments. Costs should be compared against investment in educational strategies and vaccine development programmes that aim to prevent virus transmission, as well as the value of introducing universal screening for cCMV to both increase detection of children who would benefit from treatment, and to build a more robust evidence base for future research.

  • congenital abnorm
  • deafness
  • health economics
  • infectious diseases
  • neurodevelopment

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors JR designed and conducted the data analysis and took the lead on drafting the manuscript. JR and NH had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. NH, SW and CS oversaw and directed the study. PG and CEJ provided expert advice throughout the study and contributed to the final version of the manuscript. CB and AW conducted the literature review. All authors provided critical feedback and helped shape the research, analysis and manuscript.

  • Funding This project was funded by a grant from CMV Action to York Health Economics Consortium.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

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

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.