Although human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection in infants has been associated with liver disease, the role of HCMV in infants presenting with prolonged neonatal jaundice is unclear as this clinical picture can be caused by a broad spectrum of underlying conditions.
This study aimed to determine a possible role for HCMV infection in infants with prolonged cholestatic neonatal jaundice that could facilitate the appropriate use of diagnostic assays and specific treatment in this condition.
HCMV immunohistochemical staining was performed on liver biopsy specimens received for histopathological examination from 85 infants (mean age 3 months) with a clinical history of prolonged neonatal jaundice. HCMV serology was also performed.
One infant with a histological diagnosis of HCMV hepatitis was also positive by immunohistochemical staining, while all other tissue specimens were negative for HCMV. HCMV IgG was positive in 92.3% and HCMV IgM in 39.7% of the infants (n=78).
The serological results confirm the ubiquitous nature of HCMV with many primary infections occurring within the first year of life. Despite this, HCMV hepatitis was uncommon in this cohort.