Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections can cause serious complications and even death in very low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants. In a prospective multicenter study of 539 VLBW infants and their mothers (n=462), researchers examined the incidence of postnatal CMV infection over the first 90 days after birth.
Using both an immunology-based screening test and a nucleic acid test, postnatal CMV infection was detected in 29 infants, 5 of which developed symptomatic infections or died. Only one congenital infection was identified. Over half of the infants received cellular blood component transfusions that were CMV-seronegative and leukoreduced; none of the CMV infections were linked to transfusion. CMV-positive breast milk was associated with 27 of 28 postnatal infections. Although CMV-seronegative and leukoreduced cellular blood products are effective at preventing transfusion-transmitted CMV infections, new strategies are needed to prevent breast-milk transmission.
1. Josephson CD, Caliendo AM, Easley KA, Knezevic A, Shenvi N, Hinkes MT, Patel RM, Hillyer CD, Roback JD. Blood Transfusion and Breast Milk Transmission of Cytomegalovirus in Very Low-Birth-Weight Infants : A Prospective Cohort Study. JAMA Pediatr 2014.