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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 4, 2016

Vertically transmitted cytomegalovirus infection in newborn preterm infants

  • Carla Balcells , Francesc Botet EMAIL logo , Sònia Gayete , M Ángeles Marcos , Izaskun Dorronsoro , Concepción de Alba , Josep Figueras-Aloy and Castrillo Study Group


Objective: To determine the epidemiology of congenital and acquired cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in preterm infants and to analyze the efficacy of breast milk freezing in decreasing the vertical transmission rate of CMV.

Study design: During 2013 and 2014, preterm newborns who weighed ≤1500 g and were admitted to 22 Spanish neonatal units were included and screened for CMV infection according to the Spanish Neonatology Society recommendations. Each hospital treated the breast milk according to its own protocols.

Results: Among the 1236 preterm neonates included, 10 had a congenital infection (0.8%) and 49 had an acquired infection (4.0%) (82% demonstrated positive PCR-CMV in breast milk). The neonates who received only frozen milk presented less frequently with acquired infection (1.2%) than those fed fresh milk (5.5%) (RR=0.22; 95% CI 0.05–0.90; P=0.017). The newborns who received bank milk followed by frozen or fresh breast milk more frequently had an acquired infection (2.1% or 2.2%, respectively) than those fed only frozen breast milk.

Conclusions: The incidence of congenital CMV infection in our sample is low, as described in the literature. To reduce acquired CMV infection, freezing breast milk might be an advisable procedure for preterm neonates born from seropositive mothers, either from the beginning of lactation or after a period of bank milk administration.

Corresponding author: Dr. Francesc Botet, Neonatology Service, Hospital Clínic, ICGON, BCNatal, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Sabino de Arana 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain, E-mail:


We acknowledge the neonatologists of the Castrillo Study Group for taking part in this study. Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga. María González López; Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. Carla Balcells. Sònia Gayete; Hospital La Fe. Valencia. María Cernada; Hospital Universitario de Salamanca. Ana Remesal; Hospital Universitario Donostia. Oihana Muga; Hospital Universitario Virgen de las Nieves. Granada. Manuela Peña; Hospital Central de Astúrias. Oviedo. Belén Fernández Colomer; Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago. M Luz Couce; Hospital Clínico San Cecilio de Granada. Eli Fernández Marín; Hospital Clínico Universitario de Zaragoza. Purificación Ventura; Hospital de Jerez de la Frontera. María Dolores Esquivel; Hospital Universitario Quirón-Dexeus. Roser Porta; Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña. Rafael Reparaz; Hospital de León. M Teresa Palau Benavides; Hospital Universitario del Río Hortega. Valladolid. Sara Marín Urueña; Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro. Madrid. Carmen González Armengod; Hospital San Pedro de Alcántara. Cáceres. M Jesús García García; Hospital Clínico Universitário de Valladolid. Vanesa Matías; Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de Vigo. María Luisa González; Hospital Quirón-Pozuelo. Izaskun Dorronsoro; Hospital Punta de Europa. Paula Martín-Mora Bermúdez; Hospital Quirón-San José. Izaskun Dorronsoro.


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  1. The authors stated that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this article.

Received: 2015-9-21
Accepted: 2016-1-6
Published Online: 2016-2-4
Published in Print: 2016-7-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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