Cytomegalovirus enteritis with intractable diarrhea in infants from a tertiary care center in China

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2020 Jan;55(1):55-61. doi: 10.1080/00365521.2019.1706763. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is rarely thought to be the cause of significant gastrointestinal infection in immunocompetent children. CMV colitis is seldom observed in young infants. This study aims to examine the clinical features of CMV colitis in Chinese children.Methods: Patients with infantile onset CMV colitis diagnosed in intestinal tissue at Children's Hospital of Fudan University from 1st January 2017, to 31st January 2019 were enrolled. Clinical data were retrieved from medical records, and the literature on infant CMV colitis was also reviewed.Results: Ten patients were included with a median age of 2.5 months [interquartile range 2.0, 6.3 months]. All 10 patients had diarrhea, 10 patients had anemia, seven patients reported hematochezia, five patients had hypoalbuminemia, five patients had retinitis, two patients had hearing impairment, and one patient had perianal abscess and anal fistula. The patients had punched-out ulcerations, longitudinal ulcerations or irregular ulcerations on the rectum and/or colon. Typical histologic evaluation showed crypt distortion and inflammatory infiltration. CMV inclusion bodies were noted in four patients. Immunohistochemistry on intestinal tissue was performed to diagnose CMV, with all patients positive. After follow-up, all patients are clinically recovered or in remission; six patients received antiviral therapy, and five patients had healed ulcers on endoscopic examination.Conclusions: CMV colitis might be a rare cause of intractable diarrhea in immunocompetent children. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of CMV colitis in patients with intractable diarrhea.

Keywords: Cytomegalovirus colitis; infant; intractable diarrhea.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • China
  • Colitis / diagnosis
  • Colitis / drug therapy
  • Colitis / virology*
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonoscopy
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / complications*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Diarrhea / physiopathology
  • Diarrhea / virology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Rectum / pathology
  • Tertiary Care Centers


  • Antiviral Agents