Cross-sectional study to assess awareness of cytomegalovirus infection among pregnant women in Germany

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2022 Dec 24;22(1):964. doi: 10.1186/s12884-022-05312-8.


Background: Study aimed to assess awareness of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and its determinants in pregnancy.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey was conducted in five hospital-based maternity units in Germany. Pregnant women attending the maternity departments completed interviewer/self-administered survey questionnaire. High-risk group was defined according to contact with children under five years of age (at home or at work). Quantitative analyses using multivariable logistic regression were performed.

Results: One thousand two hundred thirty-three pregnant women were included. 48.5% (n = 598) of women reported any knowledge about risk of CMV infection during pregnancy. CMV infection was less known than other infections or diseases (education about toxoplasmosis 95.5% (n = 1,177), listeriosis 60.5% (n = 746). 38% (n = 468) of participants received education about CMV. CMV awareness was associated with the level of education and employment in childcare or medical care. Only 32% (n = 394) of the women made use of serological screening for CMV during pregnancy (individual health service). 40.8% (n = 503) of pregnant women were classified as high-risk group. They had significantly higher knowledge and education about CMV, and msignificantlycant more often use of the serological screening.

Conclusions: Less than half of pregnant women surveyed were aware of potential risk associated with CMV infection during pregnancy. In our study,one-third third of pregnant women made use of the serological screening for CMV. Regarding the lack of current consensus on the role of serological CMV screening for pregnant women, hygiene preventive measures are the only evidence-based recommendation for pregnant women and knowledge increase could potentially have major public health impact.

Keywords: Awareness; Congenital infection; Cytomegalovirus; Knowledge; Medical education; Pregnant women.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / prevention & control
  • Pregnant Women