What is the role of lab studies in the workup of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection?

Updated: Jul 07, 2021
  • Author: Ricardo Cedeno-Mendoza, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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In congenital CMV disease, laboratory abnormalities may include abnormal transaminases, bilirubin and platelet levels. To diagnose congenital CMV infection, testing should be performed within the first 3 weeks of life, because testing past this period does not differentiate intrauterine from perinatal acquisition of CMV infection. Saliva CMV PCR is the preferred diagnostic test for newborn congenital CMV screening, because high viral load are shed in both urine and saliva in infants with congenital CMV. Due to some false-positive results in breastfeeding patients, obtaining a sample of saliva at least 1 hour after could avoid potential contamination with CMV from breastmilk. Other recommended test include Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in bood and urine as well. [15, 20]

The prognostic value of CMV viral load in neonatal samples, especially with asymptomatic infection, is unclear. The role of virus burden in the peripheral blood, urine and saliva in disease and outcome needs further study. [15]

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