The Prevalence of Human Cytomegalovirus among Pregnant Women Attending Thika Level 5 District Hospital Kiambu County, Kenya
Maingi, Mwangi Z.
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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of herpesviruses. It is one of the most common causes of congenital and prenatal infections. It is a ubiquitous virus with the ability to establish latency following primary infection, and can be reactivated particularly during episodes of immunosuppression. CMV infection of pregnant women, especially in the first trimester may lead to congenital abnormalities and is often associated with serious complications, such as microcephaly, mental retardation, spastic paralysis, hepatosplenomegaly, anaemia, thrombocytopenia, deafness, and optic nerve atrophy leading to blindness in infants. The prevalence of CMV infection in developed countries is about 40% and in developing countries may be 100%.This study was done to determine the seroprevalence rate of the infection and its associated risk factors in pregnant women at Thika Level 5 District. This cross-sectional study was done in 260 pregnant women. Demographic data were collected by a questionnaire. About 3 ml of blood was taken from each patient. Aliquots of serum samples were stored at -20°C until analyzed. The presence of IgM and IgG CMV specific antibodies was assessed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Data were analyzed by chi square test using EPI Info 2003 software. The prevalence rate was at 85.4% with the majority of women (77.3%) being positive for CMV-IgG in pregnancy while the rate of positive CMV-IgM infection was 8.1%. Samples that tested positive for both IgG and IgM were 20.8% and underwent avidity test to evaluate strength of the IgG antibodies. Those with avidity index >35% were 79.63% showing IgG antibody pre dominancy while those with avidity index <or equal to 35% were 20.37% indicating that IgM was the predominant antibody. Participants with IgG protective antibodies in this study were 60.8% and this confers protection to the foetus from CMV infection while 21.4% were not protected. The findings of our study indicated a prevalence of 85.6% with age, marital status, parity and education being factors that were significant (p>0.05). Adoption of CMV screening into the antenatal profile tests, health education of this virus on how it is acquired and contributing factors like personal and community hygiene were recommended as preventive approaches to congenital CMV infections.