Congenital CMV Causes >10 Percent of Hearing-Loss Cases

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Congenital CMV Causes >10 Percent of Hearing-Loss Cases
Congenital CMV Causes >10 Percent of Hearing-Loss Cases

(HealthDay News) -- More than 10 percent of infants with congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) will suffer permanent hearing loss, according to new research published online Oct. 27 in Pediatrics.

To identify how widespread cCMV is in children, and to determine its toll on hearing, Julie Goderis, M.D., of University Hospital Ghent in Belgium, and colleagues culled data from 37 previously published studies. The researchers found that the virus strikes less than 1 percent of newborns -- about 0.58 percent -- in developed countries. And about 12.6 percent of infected children will suffer severe, permanent hearing loss. Among children who show virus symptoms, one in three children suffers hearing loss, compared to one of 10 who doesn't have symptoms.

For symptomatic children, hearing loss will affect both ears. Children without symptoms usually suffer hearing loss in one ear, Goderis told HealthDay. Hearing loss from cCMV, which is severe to total, can develop over time and vary as it progresses, she explained. But only one in 10 children with the virus shows symptoms, and screening is not routine, Goderis added.

"Until a vaccine becomes available, behavioral and educational interventions are the most effective strategy to prevent mothers from being infected with cCMV," she said. "Following up a child's hearing until the age of 6 years is essential to detect delayed onset or progressive hearing loss from cCMV," said Goderis. "We know that, especially in this group, delayed hearing loss can occur."

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