Cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy: a still complicated diagnostic problem

Intervirology. 1998;41(4-5):149-57. doi: 10.1159/000024929.


The diagnostic problems linked to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in pregnancy are many and not all have been fully defined. In long-term seropositive women there is a tacit agreement that no laboratory testing for HCMV should be carried out. In seronegative women a test for HCMV-specific IgG should be performed at least twice during the first 4 months of pregnancy, and if the seronegativity persists, further follow-up might be stopped. On the other hand, if a seropositivity appears the diagnosis of a primary HCMV infection is established and prenatal diagnosis should be offered to the mother. Finally, in the case of a pregnant woman with unknown serological status, the diagnosis of HCMV infection is a complex problem and several different questions need to be addressed. In our opinion they should be screened with a reliable IgM test (confirmed by blot if necessary) followed, in the case of positivity, by an avidity assay. Pregnant women undergoing a primary HCMV infection should be encouraged to seek prenatal diagnosis to be performed by PCR and virus isolation from amniotic fluid at the 21st to 23rd week of gestation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Serologic Tests