Virologica Sinica

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 376–386 | Cite as

Detection of congenital cytomegalovirus in newborns using nucleic acid amplification techniques and its public health implications

  • Guoyu Liu
  • Rong Hai
  • Fenyong LiuEmail author


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a herpesvirus, is an important human pathogen that causes asymptomatic infections in healthy or immunocompetent individuals but can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications in immune-immature individuals such as neonates or immune-compromised patients such as organ-transplant recipients and HIV-positive individuals. Congenital HCMV infection represents a significant public health issue and poses substantial healthcare and economic burden to society. This virus causes the most common viral congenital infection worldwide, and is the leading non-genetic cause of sensorineural hearing loss in children in developed countries. Congenital HCMV infection is believed to fulfill the criteria of the American College of Medical Genetics to be considered as a condition targeted for a newborn screening program. This is because congenital HCMV infection can be identified during a time (within 2 days after birth) at which it would not ordinarily be detected clinically, and there are demonstrated benefits of early detection, timely intervention, and efficacious treatment of the condition. Recent progresses in developing polymerase chain reaction-based approaches to detect HCMV in samples obtained from newborns have generated much excitement in the field. In this review, we highlight the recent progress in diagnostic techniques that could potentially be used for the detection of HCMV infection in neonates and its direct implications in public health settings for diagnosing congenital HCMV infection.


herpesvirus human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) vertical transmission congenital infection diagnostics PCR 



We are grateful to Phong Trang, Hao Gong, Marco Paliza-Carre, Gia-Phong Vu, and Ting Wang for critical comments, insight discussions, and editorial assistance. This research has been supported by grants from Guangdong Innovative and Entrepreneurial Research Team Program (No. 2014 ZT05S136), the National Mega Project on Major Infectious Disease Prevention (2012ZX10002006-003 and 2012 ZX10004-207), and NIH (RO1-AI041927, RO1-AI091536, RO1-DE023935, and RO1-DE025462).

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Berkeley Community CollegeBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.College of Life Science and TechnologyJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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