Systematic review of the birth prevalence of congenital cytomegalovirus infection in developing countries

Int J Infect Dis. 2014 May:22:44-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2013.12.010. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Background: Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the leading infectious cause of congenital hearing loss and neurodevelopmental disability in developed countries. Information on congenital CMV infection in developing countries appears to be lacking.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies from developing countries with population-based samples of at least 300 infants that used laboratory methods established as reliable for the diagnosis of congenital CMV infection.

Results: Most studies were excluded due to biased samples or inadequate diagnostic methods; consequently the search identified just 11 studies that were from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The number of newborns tested ranged from 317 to 12 195. Maternal CMV seroprevalence ranged from 84% to 100%. CMV birth prevalence varied from 0.6% to 6.1%. CMV-associated impairments were not documented in most studies.

Conclusions: Birth prevalence ranges were higher than for Europe and North America, as expected based on the higher maternal CMV seroprevalence. With very limited data available on sequelae, the disease burden of congenital CMV in developing countries remains largely unknown at this time.

Keywords: Congenital infection; Cytomegalovirus; Developing countries; Prevalence.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Cytomegalovirus / growth & development
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / transmission*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence