In 1964, Medearis observed an association between congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and sensorineural deafness.1 That study involved symptomatic newborns, who constitute a modest 6% of the estimated 33,000 infants born with congenital CMV infection in the United States each year. It is now apparent that asymptomatic neonates also have long-term risks and that hearing loss is the most common irreversible sequela of congenital CMV infection.2,3 The probability of hearing disability is approximately 30% in symptomatic4 and 13% in the more common asymptomatic infants with congenital infection.2,3
In this issue of the Journal (see p 896), Saigal et al report the results of a study involving 15,212 consecutive births in Hamilton, Ontario. They recovered CMV from the urine of 64 infants. Of these, they were able to do audiologic assessments of 41 CMV-infected children as well as 44 matched control subjects. Sensorineural hearing impairment was found in
HANSHAW JB. On Deafness, Cytomegalovirus, and Neonatal Screening. Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(10):886–887. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970460016002
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