antenatal screening programme


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus which can cause mild flu-like symptoms. It is more serious if a woman catches it for the first time while she is pregnant as she may pass it on to her baby. If a baby is born with the CMV infection, this is called congenital CMV (cCMV).

Most infected babies have no signs of being unwell at birth and will not experience any long-term health consequences. However, a small number might develop problems with their kidneys, liver, brain, eyes, and hearing. These babies will need regular follow-up appointments until they are around 5.

Read more about cytomegalovirus on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in March 2022.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

Screening for congenital CMV (cCMV) is not recommended because:

  • we are not sure if tests reliably show which babies with cCMV will suffer long-term health problems
  • it is likely that screening will find a larger number of babies with the infection who will not have problems from it than those who will
  • there is a lack of evidence that early treatment following screening leads to better outcomes than later treatment after symptoms
  • currently, it is not clear what is the best way of treating children who do not have symptoms

The UK NSC will engage with stakeholders and the NHS to help improve awareness and knowledge of CMV among the public and health care professionals.

Supporting documents from the 2022 review

Evidence map
This document investigates whether a more detailed review can be conducted based on the available evidence.

This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Supporting documents from the 2017 review

In 2017, the UK NSC did not recommend screening for this condition.

Evidence summary Cytomegalovirus (2017)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2022

Next review estimated to be completed: 2025 to 2026.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Cytomegalovirus

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.