Objective: To evaluate differences in presentation and outcomes in children with symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) identified on newborn screening (screened group) and those identified based on clinical findings at birth (referred group).
Study design: Data on 178 infants with symptomatic cCMV were analyzed. Demographic characteristics, clinical and laboratory findings documented in the nursery, and sequelae data were compared between the screened and the referred groups using χ(2) or Fisher exact test.
Results: Two or more clinical findings were detected at birth in 91% of referred infants, and only 58% of screened infants (P < .001). Significantly more children in the referred group had hearing loss compared with screened infants (P = .009). Fifty-one percent of screened children were free of sequelae compared with only 28% of the referred group (P < .003).
Conclusions: Infants with symptomatic cCMV identified based on clinical suspicion have more severe disease at birth and more commonly have sequelae than those identified on newborn screening. Inclusion of referral infants in many previous reports may have overestimated the severity of disease because of selection bias. Defining the complete spectrum of symptomatic disease due to cCMV and providing precise estimates of disease burden can only be gathered from large newborn screening studies.
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