Current Articles

Vertical Transmission

Increasing diversity in the general area of Microbiology is welcome and inevitable. The modern microbiologist is a mathematician or an experimentalist, an ecologist or a cell biologist, a geneticist or a population biologist. Rather than concern ourselves with a narrowing definition, we must aim for inclusiveness and opportunity. Maree Overall in the National Office and Cheryl Power, our Vice President (Corporate affairs), have undertaken an analysis of the declared interests of the members of the Society (many Society members listing more t...

Jonathan Iredell     09-Nov-2015
Congenital cytomegalovirus: the invisible problem

It is a great pleasure mixed with some sadness to write this editorial. The entire November issue is around the subject of congenital infection, with the focus on the most common, serious cause of congenital malformation in Australia – congenital cytomegalovirus. Infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) causes serious disease in children globally, resulting in congenital infections present in ~2000 Australian newborns every year, of whom most are asymptomatic, with ~450 per annum (pa) affected by hearing loss, mental disability and other ...

Bill Rawlinson     09-Nov-2015
Clinical and epidemiological features of congenital cytomegalovirus infection globally

Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common non-genetic cause of congenital disability. As a herpesvirus that infects the majority of the population, CMV is able to establish a lifelong latent infection in the host. Any time during pregnancy, a primary CMV infection, reactivation of latent CMV or a new viral strain can infect the placenta and the developing foetus, resulting in congenital CMV infection. Each year, an estimated 2000 children are born with congenital CMV infection in Australia, leaving ~500 children with permanent disabilities...

Wendy J van Zuylen     21-Oct-2015
Therapeutics to prevent congenital cytomegalovirus during pregnancy: what is available now and in the future?

Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the leading non-genetic cause of fetal malformation in developed countries. Congenital CMV infection can cause serious clinical sequelae, and in severe cases result in fetal or neonatal death. Despite the clinical and social importance of congenital CMV there is currently no standardised management strategy to prevent or treat maternal/fetal CMV infection during pregnancy and no evidence-based therapeutic for prenatally diagnosed CMV infection or disease. For pregnant women with a primary CMV infection during preg...

Stuart T Hamilton, Corina Hutterer and Manfred Marschall     20-Oct-2015
Reducing congenital cytomegalovirus infection through policy and legislation in the United States

Policy and legislation, backed by accurate science, are viable tools to change behaviour to reduce congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. Addressing CMV through public policy can provide increased awareness among public health officials, access to existing venues for disseminating information, and much needed funds for awareness campaigns. While some medical professionals and CMV experts oppose public policy and legislation mandating medical practice, most support policies aimed at public education campaigns to provide consumers with accu...

Sara Menlove Doutre     19-Oct-2015
Congenital cytomegalovirus and its consequences for families

Congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) is the most common viral and infectious cause of disabilities to newborn babies. It can cause sensorineural hearing loss and deafness, cerebral palsy, verbal, oral and motor dyspraxia, global developmental delay, microcephaly, feeding issues requiring a gastrostomy tube, intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, blindness and death. There are also children with cCMV who are on the autism spectrum however studies have yet to be carried out in this area. For the rest of the family the consequences of cCMV are life cha...

Kate Daly and Janelle Greenlee     19-Oct-2015
New diagnostics and methods of assessing pregnant women at risk of cytomegalovirus

Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection can occur in pregnant women by primary infection or by non-primary infection, namely by either reactivation of the latent virus or reinfection with a different strain1. In all cases the mother can transmit the virus to the fetus through the placenta2,3. In the diagnosis of primary CMV infection, the gold standard is maternal seroconversion to CMV-specific antibodies. Currently, women are not routinely screened for CMV before conception or during pregnancy, thus CM...

Tiziana Lazzarotto, Liliana Gabrielli and Roberta Rizzo     19-Oct-2015
Cytomegalovirus infection and pathogenesis in the human placenta

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most common cause of congenital viral infection. Affected children can have permanent neurological complications, including hearing loss, visual impairment and mental retardation13. In Australia, 57% of women are seronegative and at risk for primary infection and transmission of virus to the fetus during pregnancy4. Despite its public health significance, the specific molecular and cellular basis of HCMV replication in the human placenta and pathogenesis ass...

Lenore Pereira, Takako Tabata and Matthew Petitt     27-Oct-2015
Vaccination for cytomegalovirus: when, where and how

Although following primary human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in many individuals no overt symptoms are observed, CMV came to medical attention due to its significant morbidity and mortality associated with congenital infection and immunosuppressed individuals. Congenital infection occurs following transplacental transmission during pregnancy as a result of primary infection, reactivation or re-infection with a different isolate. Estimates suggest at least a million cases of congenital CMV occur annually worldwide. Congenital infection is a ...

Vijayendra Dasari and Rajiv Khanna     19-Oct-2015
An effective and feasible approach to prevention of primary cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy

In the absence of a cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine, other strategies for prevention of primary infection in pregnancy should be considered. Behavioural interventions have been reported to significantly decrease seroconversion rate among seronegative pregnant women. We report here on a recently completed controlled study in which seronegative women at high risk of infection because of close contacts with children <36 months, were identified and informed about risky and protective behaviours. Informed women seroconverted at a significantly lower r...

Maria Grazia Revello, Valentina Frisina, Giovanna Oggè, Alessia Arossa and Milena Furione     19-Oct-2015
HIV in pregnant women and prevention of perinatal transmission

Women with HIV who have access to treatment can expect to have a normal life expectancy. With effective antiretroviral therapy, an undetectable viral load, and avoidance of breastfeeding, the rate of perinatal transmission is extremely low (<1%). A Caesarean section is no longer routinely recommended nor is intrapartum zidovudine. Women living with HIV should be supported in their decision regarding parenthood given their excellent prognosis, low risk of perinatal transmission and reproductive rights. If interventions to reduce perinatal HIV tr...

Michelle Giles     19-Oct-2015
Diagnosis of congenital syphilis and toxoplasmosis

Syphilis, toxoplasmosis, and cytomegalovirus represent disparate entities. The bacterial spirochaete Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum causes syphilis, the ‘The Great Imitator'; the organism's sole natural host is humans and it remains exquisitely sensitive to penicillin. By contrast, the zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii causes toxoplasmosis. Infection is usually self-limited, although serious disease can occur in the immunocompromised. Meanwhile, the human cytomegalovirus (CMV; human herpesvirus 5) is a relatively...

C. R. Robert George     28-Oct-2015
Transmission of human cytomegalovirus via breastmilk and potential risks to very preterm infants

Breastfeeding has clear short-term benefits for the baby1. Additionally, based on a prospective long-term cohort study from Brazil, breastfeeding is associated with improved IQ scores and increased educational attainment 30 years later2. During lactation, mother-to-infant transmission of viral infections like HIV, hepatitis B (HBV), and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), may occur. The article presented here will focus on the dynamics of HCMV shedding into breastmilk, describe the short- and long-term risks of HCMV infection of...

Klaus Hamprecht and Rangmar Goelz     27-Oct-2015
The obstetrician, congenital cytomegalovirus, clinical and diagnostic approaches to the pregnant woman

There is low awareness of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) in Australia. Routine pregnancy serological screening for CMV is not recommended, but all pregnant women should be given advice about CMV prevention. Obstetricians may be asked to see a pregnant woman when serology suggests CMV infection or when features of fetal infection are present on ultrasound. If maternal CMV infection is confirmed, the timing of infection (pre-pregnancy or gestation of pregnancy), must be determined to predict the fetal risks. In addition, it is important to esta...

Antonia W Shand     23-Oct-2015
Animal models of human cytomegalovirus congenital infection

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection is highly species-specific, which means that it is unable to productively infect laboratory animals. Despite this caveat, studies of animal CMV counterparts in their natural hosts have revealed significant correlations with observed neuropathological effects of congenital HCMV infection and have improved our understanding of host responses to vaccination. The biological relatedness between human and animal CMVs has been confirmed by phylogenetic analyses; the conservation of ‘core' genes that are es...

Helen Farrell     20-Oct-2015
Obituary: Professor Geoffrey Randolph Shellam

It is a privilege for all of us to present a brief tribute for the life of Geoffrey Shellam, an admired colleague and friend, to some for over 50 years. Geoff’s scientific intuition, his integrity and his scientific leadership were second to none.

Tony Cunningham, John Mackenzie, Gustav Nossal and William Rawlinson     19-Oct-2015
Conference report: 19th ISHAM Congress, Melbourne

Wieland Meyer     27-Oct-2015

Volume 36 Number 4


Feature Product

Marine Parasitology

Marine Parasitology

A thorough overview of all aspects of marine parasitology.

Feature Product

Australia's Poisonous Plants, Fungi and Cyanobacteria

Australia's Poisonous Plants, Fungi and Cyanobacteria

A full-colour, comprehensive guide to the major poisonous plants in Australia affecting both livestock and humans.

The Australian Society of Microbiology

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