Congenital cytomegalovirus infection after recurrent infection: case reports and review of the literature

Eur J Pediatr. 2003 Apr;162(4):248-53. doi: 10.1007/s00431-002-1115-5. Epub 2003 Feb 13.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the most common causes of congenital infections in developed countries with reported incidences varying between 0.15% and 2.0%. The effects of congenital CMV infection may vary from a congenital syndrome to an asymptomatic course. Infants that are asymptomatic at birth may still present handicaps at a later age. It is generally accepted that symptoms of congenitally infected children are more severe after primary infection than after recurrent infection. In this article, we present two case reports which demonstrate that the outcome of recurrent maternal CMV infection may be severe. In the first case, early pregnancy serology showed positive IgG and IgM, but negative IgA, whereas at the time of diagnosed fetal death, 5 weeks later, there was only positive IgG. The second case showed positive IgG and negative IgM and IgA both in early pregnancy and after delivery. Since in both cases CMV was isolated from several organs, these findings are compatible with recurrent rather than primary CMV infection. In the reported patients, fetal death and necrotising enterocolitis occurred after a congenital CMV infection, with mothers having pre-existing immunity to CMV. In conclusion, these case reports and review of the literature emphasise that the outcome of recurrent maternal CMV infection may be severe and that congenital CMV infection should be considered in cases of pregnancy loss and necrotising enterocolitis with recurrent maternal CMV infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / congenital*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / transmission*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / virology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / virology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious*
  • Recurrence