MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A quick cheek swab now detects the presence of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, the most common congenital virus infection in the USA, affecting about 1 in 50 to 150 infants. Since the virus infects nerve cells, including the cells of the brain, some babies born that are infected with CMV experience long-term health problems such as poor brain growth (microcephaly), developmental disabilities - and hearing and vision loss. The detection of the virus in newborns from an easy-to-collect cheek swab was developed by The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Le Bonheur and opens the door for early treatment with an antiviral medicine, which has recently been shown to aid hearing and brain development when given to some CMV-infected babies during the first months of life.
In March, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital started the nation's first system-wide comprehensive newborn screening program for this virus; testing for CMV in all newborn babies born or cared for in the Methodist system in Memphis (including Methodist-Le Bonheur Germantown, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, and Methodist South). The screening is free-of-charge as a service to patients. For patients who test positive, additional testing will be performed and individualized treatment plans will be developed by the Infectious Diseases specialists at the ULPS Pediatric Infectious Diseases clinic.
About Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., treats more than 250,000 children each year through community programs, regional clinics and a 255 bed state-of-the-art hospital. Le Bonheur serves as a primary teaching affiliate for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and trains more than 350 pediatricians and specialists each year. Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children's Hospital.
Media Contact: David Henson, David.Henson@lebonheur.org, 1-901-287-6030
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SOURCE Le Bonheur Children's Hospital