Study Suggests Success of Utah CMV Screening Program A Utah state law has led to increased early identification of infants with hearing loss due to congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), a new study says. The law, which requires newborn infants who fail hearing tests to be screened for CMV, is the first state legislation of its kind. Scientists from the ... Research in Brief
Free
Research in Brief  |   April 01, 2017
Study Suggests Success of Utah CMV Screening Program
Author Notes
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   April 01, 2017
Study Suggests Success of Utah CMV Screening Program
The ASHA Leader, April 2017, Vol. 22, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.22042017.16
The ASHA Leader, April 2017, Vol. 22, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.22042017.16
The law, which requires newborn infants who fail hearing tests to be screened for CMV, is the first state legislation of its kind. Scientists from the University of Utah and the Utah Department of Health collaborated to study the effects of the mandated screening.
Although most infants with congenital CMV do not experience long-term effects, the condition is a significant cause of permanent childhood hearing loss.
In the two years after the law was passed in 2013, the researchers assessed data from 509 asymptomatic infants—CMV often presents no symptoms or signs—who failed hearing tests to see if they underwent CMV screening and the results of those screenings. The records were pulled from the Utah Department of Health’s HiTrack and Vital Records databases.
Sixty-two percent of the infants were screened for CMV. Of 234 infants who were tested within 21 days of birth, 14 were CMV-positive and six had hearing loss.

Sociodemographic factors, time since the law’s enactment, and newborn hearing screening protocols were all associated with increased compliance with CMV screening.

“It is highly likely that these asymptomatic children infected with congenital CMV would not have been diagnosed at a later time because of the difficulty distinguishing postnatally acquired CMV from congenital CMV after 3 weeks of age from urine or saliva,” the authors write in the study, published in the journal Pediatrics and led by Marissa Diener, associate professor at the University of Utah’s Department of Family and Consumer Studies.
By 90 days after birth, 77 percent of the eligible 509 infants completed a diagnostic hearing evaluation, compared with 56 percent in the 24 months before the legislation. And the more time that had passed after the law’s enactment, the more infants were screened for CMV: Those born in the first six months after the law had a 64 percent lower screening rate than those born after the first six months.
Sociodemographic factors, time since the law’s enactment, and newborn hearing screening protocols were all associated with increased compliance with CMV screening.
CMV is transmitted through bodily fluids, though CMV poses most of its health risks when the infection is congenital. The Utah law provided funding for educational campaigns about congenital CMV.
“Our study demonstrates that policy changes, such as the one in Utah that required CMV testing after failed newborn hearing screening, can improve the identification of infants with hearing loss, even those without congenital CMV,” says Diener. “This is important because timely identification of hearing loss can enable earlier intervention, which is linked to better language outcomes for children.”
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
April 2017
Volume 22, Issue 4