Cytomegalovirus is the main cause of congenital viral infection and amniotic fluid viral load appears to be the single nonclinical prognostic factor. However, as in other infectious diseases, host genetics may influence the severity of the disease. To test this hypothesis, we looked retrospectively at the fetal gender in cases of severe congenital cytomegalovirus infection in our database. We also analyzed the international English literature covering this subject between 1985 and 2003. The proportion of females with brain abnormalities was statistically different from that of males (62/258: 24% vs 30/251: 12%, p = 0.004). The risk of abnormal brain development in infected fetuses was twice as high in females than in males (Chi(2) = 8.7; OR = 2, IC [1.26-3.21]). In our cases, amniotic fluid CMV DNA load was not significantly higher in males than in females (p = 0.06) and was also similar in severely and non-severely infected fetuses (p = 0.09).
Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.