High prevalence of asymptomatic CMV shedding in healthy children attending the minnesota state fair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Young children in the household are a known risk factor for maternal CMV infection and consequently, congenital infection in infants. However, little is known about viral shedding in pre-school aged children. Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of CMV DNA shedding and CMV antibodies among healthy children and their mothers. Study Design: A study of children ages 0 through 5 years was undertaken at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. Children and their mothers were assessed for CMV shedding by procurement of a saliva swab for CMV PCR testing. An optional finger-stick for capillary blood was used to assess CMV antibodies. Results: A total of 109 children and 85 mothers were enrolled. The prevalence of CMV saliva shedding among children (mean age 3.1 years, SE=0.16) and their mothers was 12/109 (11.0%) and 1/85 (1.2%), respectively. The prevalence of CMV DNA among children peaked at 3 years of age (26%) while the mean viral load was greatest at one year of age (236,693 IU/mL). CMV IgG antibodies among those who agreed to a finger-stick were detected in 16/35 mothers (45.7%) and 0/7 children (0%). Mothers of children aged 5 years or greater had the highest seroprevalence (61.5%). Conclusions: The prevalence of CMV salivary shedding in this unselected sample of young children was approximately 11.0%. The overall maternal seroprevalence in our sample was <50%, suggesting these women are at risk for acquisition of a primary CMV infection in subsequent pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105102
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
JG was supported by a Fellowship from the Institute for Molecular Virology Training Program at the University of Minnesota by the National Institute of Health (T32 AI083196).

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the University of South Carolina's Disability Research and Dissemination Center (DRDC) through its Cooperative Agreement (Number 6U19DD001218) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the DRDC or CDC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Asymptomatic shedding
  • Congenital CMV
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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