Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the leading congenital infection agent in the world. The importance of screening this infection has been debated, as 10–15% of the asymptomatic newborns with HCMV at birth will present late sequelae. The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of using saliva pools from newborns in a screening program for congenital HCMV infection, in two Portuguese hospitals. The screening was based on the use of pools of 10 saliva samples for detection of viral DNA by real-time PCR. Whenever there was a positive pool, the samples were tested individually, and for each positive sample the result was confirmed with a urine sample collected in the first 2 weeks of life. The study involved 1492 newborns. One hundred and fifty pools were screened, with 14 positive results in saliva, but only 10 were confirmed in urine samples, giving a prevalence of congenital HCMV infection in both hospitals of 0.67% (CI95% 0.36 to 1.23%). Conclusion: The overall prevalence of congenital HCMV infection in both hospitals was 0.67%. The use of saliva pools proved to be effective for the screening of this congenital infection, allowing timely screening and confirmation in a large population, with associated cost reduction.What is Known:• Newborn screening for HCMV is desirable.• Saliva is a good and practical sample.What is New:• The feasibility of using saliva pools for a large-scale screening.• The cost reduction of this strategy.
- Cost reduction