Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV)
infection in newborns can be detected by real-time polymerase-chain-reaction
(PCR) assays of saliva samples. CMV infection is usually asymptomatic but can
cause hearing loss. Currently newborns are not screened for CMV infection. Babies
could benefit from early intervention as the PCR assays can be automated and
adapted for widespread screening.
According to Suresh Boppana, MD, of
the University of Alabama at Birmingham said, "Assays using both liquid and
dried saliva had high sensitivity and specificity for identifying the
infection, with positive predictive values over 90% and negative predictive
values at or near 100%."
The research has been published in the June 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.