Congenital cytomegalovirus infection

N Engl J Med. 1977 Jun 2;296(22):1254-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197706022962203.


The overall prevalence of congenital cytomegalovirus infection among the offspring of a highly immune young female population was 2.4 per cent (23 of 939). To ascertain whether the presence of anticytomegalovirus antibodies protects the developing fetus, we examined the offspring of 239 prospectively studied women. Despite substantial levels of preconceptional antibodies, intrauterine cytomegalovirus infection occured in seven of 208 (3.4 per cent) seroimmune women. Three neonates with congenital infection were born to 31 initially seronegative women. All the congenitally infected infants had subclinical involvement. Maternal humoral immunity may not protect the fetus against congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Neutralization kinetics and restriction enzyme analysis with endonucleases (EcoR-1 and HinD 111) demonstrated antigenic and genetic homology between viral strains isolated from two siblings consecutively infected in utero, indicating that repeat maternal infection with the same virus is transmissible to sequential products of conception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Complement Fixation Tests
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Maternally-Acquired
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • United States


  • Antibodies, Viral