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July 28, 2010

Screening Newborns for Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection

JAMA. 2010;304(4):407-408. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1023

To the Editor: Dr Boppana and colleagues1 concluded that DBS real-time PCR assays are not suitable for screening newborns for congenital CMV infection due to their insufficient sensitivity. We believe that this is a premature conclusion, based on a number of considerations that were not sufficiently discussed in this article.

First, the sensitivity of DBS testing is highly variable, largely depending on the nucleic acid extraction methodology used,2 so conclusions cannot be generalized. It appears that this problem can be reduced by using optimized techniques that differ from those applied in the study by Boppana et al.1 In addition, performing independent triplicate testing to increase sensitivity has been advocated,2 an approach not used in this study.