Although cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is common and rarely serious in healthy individuals, CMV infection in premature and very-low-birthweight infants can cause jaundice and other severe complications. CMV transmission in infants may occur via breast milk, other bodily fluids, and transfusions. The exact mode of CMV transmission is often unknown. Doctors in Japan reported a case study in which they examined the mode of CMV transmission in a premature, low-birth-weight infant who was fed CMV positive breast milk and received a transfusion with leukoreduced red blood cells (RBCs) from a CMV positive donor. The sequence of two variable CMV genes in the patient matched 100% with those in the breast milk and less than 70% of those in the transfused leukoreduced RBCs, suggesting that CMV transmission occurred via breast milk. This case study supports the claim that the risk of transfusion-transmitted CMV infection from leukoreduced blood products is low.
Yamagishi N, Furui Y, Koshinami S, Ichijo K, Shimizu Y, Hoshi Y, Gotanda Y, Miyakawa K, Uchida S, Tadokoro K, Nagai T, Satake M. Sequence analysis of two variable cytomegalovirus genes for distinction between transfusion- and breast milk-transmitted infections in a very-low-birthweight infant. Transfusion 2016;56: 1305-10.