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First estimates of the potential cost and cost saving of protecting childhood hearing from damage caused by congenital CMV infection

Abstract

Background Congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) is an important cause of childhood deafness, which is modifiable if diagnosed within the first month of life. Targeted screening of infants who do not pass their newborn hearing screening tests in England is a feasible approach to identify and treat cases to improve hearing outcome.

Aims To conduct a cost analysis of targeted screening and subsequent treatment for cCMV-related sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in an, otherwise, asymptomatic infant, from the perspective of the UK National Health Service (NHS).

Methods Using data from the newborn hearing screening programme (NHSP) in England and a recent study of targeted screening for cCMV using salivary swabs within the NHSP, we estimate the cost (in UK pounds (£)) to the NHS. The cost of screening (time, swabs and PCR), assessing, treating and following up cases is calculated. The cost per case of preventing hearing deterioration secondary to cCMV with targeted screening is calculated.

Results The cost of identifying, assessing and treating a case of cCMV-related SNHL through targeted cCMV screening is estimated to be £6683. The cost of improving hearing outcome for an infant with cCMV-related SNHL through targeted screening and treatment is estimated at £14 202.

Conclusions The costs of targeted screening for cCMV using salivary swabs integrated within NHSP resulted in an estimate of cost per case that compares favourably with other screening programmes. This could be used in future studies to estimate the full economic value in terms of incremental costs and incremental health benefits.

  • Costing
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Audiology
  • Virology
  • General Paediatrics
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