Use of screening dried blood spots for estimation of prevalence, risk factors, and birth outcomes of congenital cytomegalovirus infection

J Pediatr. 2010 Aug;157(2):191-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Apr 18.


Objectives: To determine the birth prevalence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in a population-based sample of newborns by use of dried blood spots compared with previous studies that used established detection methods, and to evaluate risk factors and birth outcomes for congenital CMV infection.

Study design: A total of 3972 newborn dried blood spots collected for the California Newborn Screening Program were tested for presence of CMV DNA. Demographic and pregnancy data were obtained from linked newborn screening and live-birth records.

Results: CMV prevalence among newborns by maternal race and ethnicity was 0.9% for blacks, 0.8% for Hispanics, 0.6% for whites, and 0.6% for Asians. Among Hispanics (n = 2053), infants who were infected had younger mothers (23 vs 26 years, P = .03), and prevalence was higher for children with no father information provided (2.6% vs 0.6%, P = .03). Overall CMV infection was associated with low birth weight (prevalence ratios [95% CI]: 3.4 [1.4-8.5]) and preterm birth (2.7 [1.4-5.1]). CMV viral loads were inversely related to birth weight and gestational age (both P = .03).

Conclusions: CMV prevalence measured with dried blood spots was similar to reports using standard viral culture methods. Dried blood spots may be suitable for detection of CMV infection in newborns and warrant further evaluation. Congenital CMV infection may contribute to low birth weight and preterm birth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / blood*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / congenital
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • DNA, Viral