May 24, 2016 – CMV and Learning
Anchor lead: Exposure to the CMV virus during pregnancy may lead to learning disabilities in children, Elizabeth Tracey reports
CMV, or cytomegalovirus, is an important cause of newborn abnormalities worldwide, likely a much bigger problem than Zika, Ravit Boger, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, asserts. And while problems may be immediately apparent at birth, they can also take some time to reveal themselves.
Boger: We do see children who have a mild hearing loss, some learning disabilities, and many newborns are actually symptomatic CMV infected babies, where they have no symptoms at all. Without a screening program we actually don’t detect any of these newborns. Around 15% of them will end up developing major hearing loss around the time they enter elementary school. :29
Boger is in favor of screening newborns for CMV, since some treatment is available. She believes such screening would shed a lot more light on just how big a public health problem CMV infection during pregnancy is. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.