New Test To Detect Hearing Loss in Babies

Cytomegalovirus infections can now be identified to prevent hearing loss by saliva test

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) is a known cause of many birth defects, including permanent hearing loss, but most CMV infections in infants are not identified early. Researchers report that a new saliva test can identify CMV in newborns with 97 percent accuracy.

The present rapid-culture test rapid-culture procedure is only 30 percent to 40 percent accurate.

Ask your doctor about the new CMV saliva test.

Suresh Boppana, M.D., a professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the paper’s corresponding author reports that the study's objective was to identify a method which could accurately test for CMV in a larger sample.

Boppana also wanted the test to be fast, reliable and inexpensive compared to currently available tests. Saliva testing was the answer. According to the Center for Disease Controls, one out of every 150 babies are infected with CMV.

Karen Fowler, Dr.P.H., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham reports there are a variety of ways that a mother can contract CMV. Sometimes it's from exposure to other young children, but it can also be sexually transmitted between adults.

Newborns are infected through their mothers.

There is currently no cure for CMV infection. Boppana suggests testing babies within the first two to three weeks of birth because interventions like hearing aids, cochlear implants and physical therapy can begin sooner and impact the quality of the babies' lives.

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Review Date: 
May 30, 2011
Last Updated:
June 5, 2011