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December 2, 2019

Breast Milk–Acquired Cytomegalovirus in Premature Infants: Uncertain Consequences and Unsolved Biological Questions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(2):121-123. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4538

Infection with human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is ubiquitous, with a global seroprevalence of approximately 85%.1 In all human history, most CMV infections have probably been acquired from breastfeeding. Hayes et al2 in 1972 demonstrated that CMV could be cultured in breast milk, and breastfeeding was proposed as a mechanism by which the virus could be transmitted to the neonate. Subsequent work showed that such postnatal infections are generally innocuous in full-term infants,3 in contrast to the potentially devastating neurodevelopmental and audiological consequences of CMV infections acquired in utero.

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