258084 Preventing cytomegalovirus infection: A content analysis of pregnancy websites and reference books

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rosemary Thackeray, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Katherine Chipman , Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Allison Wright , Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the leading cause of birth defects and developmental delays in the United States. CMV is transmitted from child-to-mother through bodily fluids; primary prevention includes improved hygienic practices. However, less than 20% of women are aware of CMV and less than half of obstetricians/gynecologists report counseling their patients about how to prevent CMV infection. The purpose of this research was to assess the adequacy and accuracy of CMV information contained on pregnancy-related websites and reference books.


Researchers conducted a content analysis of leading pregnancy reference books (n=37) and websites (n=7). Table of contents, indexes, and electronic searches were used to locate CMV information. Two researchers coded the data for overall description, risk factors, prevalence, transmission, symptoms, sequelae, and prevention.


Half (56.8%) of reference books and 100% of websites contained CMV information. Less than one-third of sources identified CMV as the most common congenital viral infection. Just over half of books (57.1%) and 71.4% of websites mention risk factors for CMV infection. Transmission from mother to baby was stated in 61.9% of books and 85.7% of websites. All but one source recommended hand washing; few discussed other prevention techniques. Potential for permanent sequelae was mentioned in 81% of books and 100% of websites.

Conclusions Pregnancy websites and reference books are not providing women with the facts about CMV infection, how to reduce the risk of transmission, and the potential sequelae. This dearth of CMV content may contribute to the overall lack of CMV awareness.

Learning Areas:
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Compare prevalence rates of cytomegalovirus infection with the rates of other more well-known congenital conditions 2. Identify the sequelae associated with maternal cytomegalovirus infection 3. Discuss how to improve pregnancy outcomes by preventing the transmission of cytomegalovirus 4. Describe the content of cytomegalovirus information currently presented in pregnancy websites and reference books 5. Identify sources that provide the most accurate and comprehensive information

Keywords: Cytomegalovirus, Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in public health for over 20 years, including employment at a state health department, the CDC, and a university. I regularly publish in peer reviewed journals and present at scientific meetings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.