Lower prevalence of congenital cytomegalovirus infection in Portugal: possible impact of COVID-19 lockdown?

Catarina Fernandez, Maria Jesus Chasqueira, Augusta Marques, Lúcia Rodrigues, Mónica Marçal, Madalena Tuna, Mónica Cró Braz, Ana Serrão Neto, Cândida Mendes, David Lito, Paula Rocha, Gabriela Vasconcellos, Maria Favila Menezes, Maria José Sousa, Carla Nunes, Paulo Paixão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most frequent cause of congenital infection all over the world. Its prevalence ranges from 0.2 to 2.2%. Transmission from children to their pregnant mothers is a well-known risk factor, particularly if they attend a childcare centre. This study aims to compare the prevalence of CMV congenital infection (CMV_CI) in Portugal (Lisbon) between two studies, performed respectively in 2019 and 2020. In the 2019 study, performed in two hospitals, we found a 0.67% CMV_CI prevalence, using a pool strategy previously tested with saliva samples. In the 2020 study, using the same pool approach in four hospitals (the previous and two additional), and based on 1277 samples, the prevalence was 0.078%. Conclusion: The close temporal coincidence with COVID-19 lockdown suggests that these measures may have had a significant impact on this reduction, although other explanations cannot be ruled-out.What is Known:• Cytomegalovirus is the leading cause of congenital infection.• Behavioural measures decrease cytomegalovirus seroconversion in pregnant women.What is New:• From 2019 to 2020 there was a significant reduction in the prevalence of congenital CMV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1262
JournalEuropean Journal Of Pediatrics
Issue number3
Early online date30 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • CMV
  • Congenital
  • COVID-19
  • Pools
  • Screening


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