The UK NSC recommendation on cytomegalovirus screening in newborns

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed December 2017
Next review due in 2020/21
Key downloads

Find general information about population health screening.

More about Cytomegalovirus

Cytomegalovirus (the large cell virus) is a common virus and about fifty per cent of the population of Britain have been infected with it at some time. Frequently the infection passes unnoticed or there may be mild flu-like symptoms. The virus belongs to the herpes family, which includes the chicken-pox, cold sore and glandular fever viruses. Once infection has taken place, the virus remains dormant within the body, usually with no ill effects. However, recurrences of the virus in body fluids may occur at intervals.

In the UK about forty per cent of women are susceptible to CMV at the time of pregnancy. The main risk is when women catch the viral infection for the first time in pregnancy. Women are usually only mildly unwell with a sore throat and flu-like illness. The chance of the baby becoming infected is about forty per cent. Over ninety per cent of infected babies have no signs of anything wrong at birth.

» Read more about cytomegalovirus on NHS Choices


The British Association of Audiovestibular Physicians
Faculty of Public Health
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon CMV screening policy review summary (PDF document, 144KB, 28/05/12)
icon Review of cytomegalovirus against UK NSC criteria Dec 2011 (PDF document, 117KB, 20/12/11)
icon Review of cytomegalovirus against UK NSC criteria Dec 2011 (PDF document, 119KB, 14/06/17)

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