Neonatal cytomegalovirus infections: the relative role of neonatal blood transfusion and maternal exposure.
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A prospective study of premature infants admitted to an intensive care neonatal unit was undertaken to evaluate the relative role of blood transfusions and maternal exposure in infections caused by cytomegalovirus (CMV), varicella zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV). During the first year of life, 13.7%, 4.8% and 4% of the infants became infected with CMV, VZV and HSV, respectively, as determined by virus isolation or seroconversion. Transfusion in the newborn period did not influence the rates of VZV or HSV infections. A higher rate of CMV infections occurred in transfused (18.8%) than in non-transfused (11%) infants but the difference was not statistically significant. A significant correlation was found between maternal antibody titers and the rate of CMV infection in infants whether or not transfusion occurred. An even stronger association was found between breast feeding and CMV infections. The risk of alloimmunization to erythrocyte and leucocyte antigens was also assessed; no evidence of increased alloimmunization to these antigens was associated with transfusion.
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