As part of an ongoing study looking at the rates of congenital cytomegalovirus, researchers studied the potential effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on infection rates. In 2016, researchers in Minnesota began a screening study of congenital cytomegalovirus infections involving six newborn nurseries and three neonatal intensive care units. At the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic the study was halted in March of 2020, and then resumed again in August 2020. The researchers compared congenital cytomegalovirus infection rates pre-COVID from April 2016 to March 2020 to the rates in during COVID from August 2020 to December 2021. Newborns were screened for congenital cytomegalovirus infection utilizing a saliva specimen within two weeks of birth and dried blood spot, and positive results were confirmed by urine tests taken within three weeks of birth. The study involved 15 697 newborns in the period before COVID and 4222 newborns during COVID, and the results of the study were analyzed for factors including maternal age, race, and birth order. In the time period before COVID there were 70 positive cases (4.5 per 1000, 95% confidence interval 3.5-5.6), and during COVID there were 6 positive cases (1.4 per 1000, 95% confidence interval 0.6-3.2). The prevalence was highest among mothers age 24 years or younger (6.0 per 1000, 95% confidence interval 3.3-10.7), and second born children (6.0 vs. 3.2 per 1000, 95% confidence interval 4.4-8.3). The substantial decrease in congenital cytomegalovirus infection rates during COVID were postulated to be caused by reduced daycare attendance and COVID protocols such as increased hand hygiene and reduced class sizes contributing to lower rates in first born children and subsequent lower rates of transmission to the pregnant mother.Schleiss M, Rosendahl S, McCaan M, et al. Assessment of Congenital Cytomegalovirus Prevalence Among Newborns in Minnesota During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(9):e2230020. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.30020
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