Counting the Cost of CMV Report

Published on: 22/01/2019

We would urge all to read through this new report looking at the economic impact of cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Every day, around 2-3 babies are affected by CMV, which is the equivalent to around 1,000 babies a year. These statistics along with the reported £750 million cost to the UK a year are thought to be conservative due to the fact that it can sometimes take years for a CMV diagnosis to be made and in some cases, never at all.

“CMV is a common virus. It is usually transmitted via bodily fluids, such as urine, saliva, blood, mucus and tears. It is often passed on through very close contact with young children. Congenital CMV affects more babies every year than Down’s syndrome, toxoplasmosis or listeriosis, yet most people have never heard of it.

For around one in five babies born with cCMV, the effects will be devastating – leaving them with life-long conditions such as hearing loss, cerebral palsyand epilepsy. The impact is felt far beyond the family home,extending to the NHS, local authorities and wider society.”

Recommendations in the report begin with awareness. The best way to tackle the impact of cCMV is in prevention. Women are regularly made aware of foods that they should avoid during pregnancy for example, however there are simple hygiene measures that can be taken to help prevent cCMV that are very rarely advised upon. The report states that in countries where risk reduction advice is routinely given, rates of cCMV are lower. Despite this, advice regarding the avoidance of the CMV infection is not routinely given to expectant parents by the NHS.

Further recommendations are:

Produce and implement clinical guidelines and pathways for testing, improved diagnosis and management of cCMV.

Targeted screening for cCMV in children who fail a newborn hearing test to enable affected children to receive treatment much sooner.

Universal screening for cCMV to enable affected children to receivetreatment much sooner.

Invest in research to support clinical decision-making.

Develop a vaccine to end CMV.

Read the full report here and find out more at CMV Action.