oa Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases - Prevalence and determinants of congenital cytomegalovirus infection at a rural South African central hospital in the Eastern Cape - research

Volume 33 Number 4
  • ISSN : 2312-0053



Background: The Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital (NMAH) in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, is a rural central hospital, serving one of the poorest districts in South Africa. The prevalence of and risk factors for congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) in this area are not known. The aim was to evaluate the prevalence of congenital CMV and associated risk factors for babies born at NMAH.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of congenital CMV infection among babies born at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital. Mother–baby pairs delivered consecutively from Monday to Friday, who gave informed consent, were included. Demographic information was collected on a questionnaire. All babies were tested for congenital CMV using a saliva swab PCR within the first week of life.

Results: A total of 302 births were assessed. Congenital CMV was prevalent in 18 births (5.96%; 95% CI 3.29–8.63) and had an equal prevalence between HIV-exposed and HIV-unexposed newborns (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.00; 95% CI 0.94–1.06; p = 0.869).

Conclusions: The prevalence of congenital CMV of 5.96% is similar to findings from other resource-limited settings. There was no significant association between maternal HIV status and congenital CMV. With the prevalence of congenital CMV being as high as it is in the studied setting, clinicians are advised to have a high index of suspicion, especially when mothers are CMV seropositive.

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