Prevention and Therapy: More than Trial and Error

  • Gabriele Halwachs-BaumannEmail author


Given the importance of congenital CMV as a potentially preventable cause of disability in children, it is logical to consider it for potential inclusion in public health newborn screening [1]. This statement is in polar opposite to an opinion published 2 years before, concluding that no screening program for congenital cytomegalovirus infection is justified [2]. These two examples stand for two groups of scientists, the one being optimistic seeing a benefit in promoting CMV awareness in the community and the other being afraid to open Pandora’s box [1–4]. It is written: “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases the knowledge increases the sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). But it is also written: “The simple believes everything, but the prudent looks where he is going.” (Proverbs 14:15). In the absence of proven therapeutic options, prevention of CMV infection in women of reproductive age is an important strategy to reduce the rate of congenital CMV infection. And the easiest way to prevent congenital cytomegalovirus is the teaching and implementation of hygiene interventions [4]. We now know the risk factors for congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Caring for preschool children is one of them [5–7]. The problem is the lack of knowledge and awareness of congenital cytomegalovirus among women. Only 13–22% of women had heard of congenital CMV (and only 7% of men), compared to 98% who had heard of HIV/AIDS [8, 9]. Thereby seroconversion rates consistently decrease as cytomegalovirus education and support increases [10, 11]. Hygienic practices to reduce risk of CMV infection for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are simple [8]:


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Laboratory MedicineRegional Hospital SteyrSteyrAustria

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