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J Adv Nurs. 2008 Sep;63(5):440-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04726.x.

Hygiene interventions for prevention of cytomegalovirus infection among childbearing women: systematic review.

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University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



This paper is a report of a systematic review to examine the effectiveness of preventive interventions to reduce congenital cytomegalovirus transmission and infection among women of childbearing age.


Congenital cytomegalovirus has been identified as the leading infectious cause of damage to the growing fetus in developed countries, including Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome and spina bifida. Despite the prevalence and consequences of this infection, it has a low profile and pregnant mothers are often unaware of the risks and protective behaviours related to its transmission. Women with children in daycare and nurses working with children are particularly at risk of acquiring the virus.


A computerized literature search for articles up to 1 December 2007 was performed using MEDLINE (from 1950); EMBASE (from 1980) and CINAHL (from 1982).


Both authors independently reviewed studies that met inclusion criteria and assigned a quality rating determined by the number of validity criteria met. Differences were discussed until consensus was reached.


Differences in hygiene behaviour changes were most statistically significant for pregnant, seronegative women. Although the methodological quality of the three included studies was not strong, seroconversion rates consistently decreased as cytomegalovirus education and support increased.


Nurses can act as preventive agents for cytomegalovirus infection through education about hygiene precautions during antenatal care and through preventive measures in the workplace. The review findings suggest educational interventions in hygiene practices have the potential to be a feasible, large-scale, primary prevention strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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