Original Research

Prevalence and determinants of congenital cytomegalovirus infection at a rural South African central hospital in the Eastern Cape

Donald Tshabalala, Howard Newman, Charles Businge, Sikhumbuzo A. Mabunda, Waldette Kemp, Pakama Beja
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 33, No 4 | a155 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v33i4.155 | © 2019 Donald Tshabalala, Howard Newman, Charles Businge, Sikhumbuzo A. Mabunda, Waldette Kemp, Pakama Beja | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2019 | Published: 22 October 2018

About the author(s)

Donald Tshabalala, Department of Paediatrics, Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Howard Newman, National Health Laboratory Service, Port Elizabeth, and Department of Pathology, Division of Medical Virology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Charles Businge, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Sikhumbuzo A. Mabunda, Department of Public Health, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Waldette Kemp, National Health Laboratory Service, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Pakama Beja, Department of Paediatrics, Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa

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Abstract

Background: The Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital (NMAH) in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, is a rural central hospital, serving one of the poorest districts in South Africa. The prevalence of and risk factors for congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) in this area are not known. The aim was to evaluate the prevalence of congenital CMV and associated risk factors for babies born at NMAH.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of congenital CMV infection among babies born at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital. Mother–baby pairs delivered consecutively from Monday to Friday, who gave informed consent, were included. Demographic information was collected on a questionnaire. All babies were tested for congenital CMV using a saliva swab PCR within the first week of life.
Results: A total of 302 births were assessed. Congenital CMV was prevalent in 18 births (5.96%; 95% CI 3.29–8.63) and had an equal prevalence between HIV-exposed and HIV-unexposed newborns (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.00; 95% CI 0.94–1.06; p = 0.869).
Conclusions: The prevalence of congenital CMV of 5.96% is similar to findings from other resource-limited settings. There was no significant association between maternal HIV status and congenital CMV. With the prevalence of congenital CMV being as high as it is in the studied setting, clinicians are advised to have a high index of suspicion, especially when mothers are CMV seropositive.


Keywords

congenital CMV; Mthatha; prevalence; risk factors; South Africa

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