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Hearing Screening for congenital CytoMegaloVirus

One of the research projects sponsored by the Deafness Foundation is a PhD study at the Melbourne Children’s Campus (The University of Melbourne, The Royal Children’s Hospital, and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) to better understand the factors facilitating early screening for congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) in infants.


cCMV is the leading infectious cause of permanent hearing loss in children, and causes vision loss, cerebral palsy and learning and behavioural difficulties. Importantly, anti-viral therapy if commenced within one month of life for infants born with symptoms from cCMV can help to improve or stabilise these outcomes and improve the quality of life for children diagnosed with this condition.


Our study, Hearing Screening for congenital CytoMegaloVirus (HearS-cCMV), invited families of infants who did not pass their Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) at the four participating hospitals of the study to participate in a cCMV screening program.


This research aims to improve early identification of cCMV by enabling parents to screen their infants by using a saliva swab testing for cCMV within the first 21 days of the infant’s life. Our study analysed results from 96 parental screenings infants. 4 infants screened positive to cCMV with one infant diagnosed with a true cCMV diagnosis and hearing loss. Parents found that the screening process was an acceptable approach.


Overall, this knowledge will help us to better understand and determine how to implement a simple and effective cCMV screening process, with a focus on translating this into clinical practice. Ultimately, this research will help improve early screening, diagnosis, and potential provision of treatment for appropriate cCMV affected infants and make a positive impact in our community.

For more information on the cCMV research at the Royal Children's Hospital please follow these links

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