Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection: a Study on the Incidence and Characteristics of Hearing Loss.

Scriptie/masterproef: Doctoral Thesis


A congenital infection is diagnosed when a pregnant woman has an infection and passes this infection towards her unborn child. In the Western world, the most common congenital infection is a congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Approximately 0.53% of children born in our country are born with this congenital infection. Cytomegalovirus or CMV is a virus belonging to the group of Herpes viruses. The virus is transmitted via urine and saliva and can be detected in all age groups. If an immune
competent patient develops a CMV infection, they are usually asymptomatic. Only in a few
cases, flu like symptoms will be present.
Congenital infections with CMV could be the result of a primary infection during pregnancy.
In some cases a congenital infection is the result of a reactivation of the virus that has
remained in the body after a primary infection or a congenital infection can occur after an
infection with a different strain. These kinds of infections are called non-primary infections.
When a child is diagnosed with a congenital CMV infection, symptoms will occur in ten
percent of the cases, they have a symptomatic infection. These children have a high mortality
rate and will develop much more frequent neurological symptoms. Ophthalmological
problems can occur, but hearing problems are the most common sequelae in children with this
congenital infection. In 90% of the cases, congenital infection is asymptomatic. These
children will have less chance of developing severe sequelae but hearing problems and mild
neurological problems are often diagnosed.
In our department, we follow more than 200 children with a congenital CMV infection. In
22% of these children, we detected hearing problems. These can vary from mild unilateral hearing loss to bilateral deafness. When hearing problems are not diagnosed soon after birth, speech and language delay will occur. When hearing loss is detected in early childhood, and rehabilitation (eventually with hearing aids or cochlear implantation) is started before the age of six months, speech and language delay is reduced in a significant way. The risk of developing hearing problems is highest in children with a symptomatic infection and in those children who develop a congenital CMV infection after a primary infection in the
first trimester of pregnancy (respectively 33% and 80% chance of hearing loss).
Datum Prijs11 jun 2015
Toekennende instantie
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
BegeleiderFrans Gordts (Promotor), Denis Pierard (Co-promotor), Brigitte Velkeniers-Hoebanckx (Jury), Olaf Michel (Jury), Filip Cools (Jury), Leonardo Gucciardo (Jury), A.M. Oudesluys-Murphy (Jury) & An Boudewyns (Jury)

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