Background Infection is a major cause of perinatal, neonatal and infant deaths, but the viral contribution to these deaths is poorly described.
Objective To describe the contribution of viruses to perinatal, neonatal and infant deaths in one Region of the UK (1985–2008).
Methods Using Regional Perinatal Mortality Survey – a population based database of fetal deaths ≥20 weeks gestation and in live-born individuals within the first year. Deaths from viral infection were identified, verified and specified.
Results From 819 890 live births and 4478 stillbirths (>24 weeks) 1123 deaths were infectious: 585 bacterial, 102 viral. Of viral deaths 29% were parvovirus (mostly stillbirths); 23% were cytomegalovirus (CMV) (mostly stillbirths). 92% of CMV cases were congenital (cCMV). 23 infant deaths were due to respiratory viruses (table 1).
Conclusions Viruses caused 9% of all infective deaths: 6% of fetal losses <24 weeks, 15% of stillbirths/TOPs >24 weeks, 5% of neonatal deaths and 15% of non-neonatal infant deaths. In this population viral deaths occur in ∼7:100 000 live-births and 6:1000 stillbirths ≥24 weeks, most commonly from parvovirus or CMV. By comparison 13% of these deaths were attributed to GBS infection. Morbidity from cCMV is more common than mortality: this population has considerable burden from cCMV.
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