Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection leads to olfactory bulb lesions in the fetus, yet little is known about its impact on olfaction after birth. Here, we have assessed in a prospective study conducted on children in two French hospitals from 2016 to 2019, infection severity and olfactory performance after congenital CMV infection. Children with congenital CMV infection aged 3 to 10 years and healthy controls (CTL) matched for age and sex to CMV children symptomatic at birth (sCMV) were enrolled. Olfactory discrimination was assessed using mono-odorants and binary mixtures. Data were analyzed for 54 children with PCR-confirmed congenital CMV infection, including 34 sCMV (median [IQR] age, 6 [5-8] years; 19 [55.9%] male), and 20 CMV asymptomatic at birth (aCMV, median [IQR] age, 4 [3-6] years; 12 [60.0%] male). sCMV were compared to 34 CTL children. Olfactory scores in CMV-infected children were independent from vestibular deficit and hearing loss. The olfactory score was efficient to discriminate between CTL and sCMV for children > 6 years (area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC, 0.85; P = 0.0006), but not for children < 7 years. For children > 6 years, the proportion of children with total olfactory score < 4 differed between sCMV and CTL groups (91.2% and 18.7%, P < 0.001), but not between aCMV and age-matched healthy control groups. Conclusion: Congenital CMV infection is associated with reduced olfactory performance in children with infection symptoms at birth. Clinical trial registration: NCT02782988 (registration date: May 26, 2016). What is Known: •Congenital cytomegalovirus infection leads to olfactory bulb lesions in the fetus, yet little is known about its impact on olfaction after birth. •Depending on neonatal clinical presentation, children are either categorized as having a symptomatic or asymptomatic infection at birth. What is New: •Congenital cytomegalovirus infection is associated with reduced olfactory performance in children with infection symptoms at birth.
Keywords: Children; Diagnosis; Discrimination; Odorant mixture; Olfaction; Smell.
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.