Reducing Acquisition of CMV Through Antenatal Education

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    St George's, University of London
Updated on 8 March 2021


The evidence to date indicates that educational strategies may be effective at reducing antenatal CMV infection, however these have not been tested in the UK.

In phase 1 of the study, the investigators will co-design an educational intervention with pregnant women and families affected by congenital CMV with the aim of reducing the risk of acquisition of CMV in pregnancy. In phase 2 of the study, the investigators will use this educational intervention in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) as part of a feasibility study to generate the data required for the design of a future main RCT. Should the future main RCT show that the educational intervention is effective in reducing the risk of primary CMV infection in pregnancy, the intervention could be rolled out in the National Health Service (NHS). This would have significant benefits to patients and the NHS. No other single cause of congenital defects and long-term developmental disability currently provides greater opportunity for improved outcomes than the prevention of congenital CMV, therefore trials designed to test prevention strategies should be a research priority for the NHS.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common infection to be contracted before birth (a congenital infection); overall, about 20% of babies infected in this way have permanent health problems, such as hearing loss, learning delay or physical impairments. CMV is not a well-known infection, despite the health problems it can cause. It is actually more common than Down's syndrome or spina bifida. Simple hygiene measures may reduce the risk of catching CMV infection whilst pregnant and therefore also the risk of congenital infection in the infant. In the UK, pregnant women are not routinely counselled about these hygiene measures.

Before a large-scale study can be performed in the UK to determine the effectiveness of an educational intervention in reducing CMV infection in pregnancy, educational materials need to be developed and tested to ensure the feasibility of such a large study.

In this feasibility study, the investigators will work with pregnant women and families affected by CMV to design and produce a short film appropriate for use in the NHS to educate women about these simple hygiene measures (phase 1 of the study). Working in partnership with members of the public will help us ensure the content is relevant, clear and sensitive.The film will subsequently be tested in a study where women are assigned by chance to the educational intervention or to continue with treatment as usual with information about vaccines already recommended within the NHS. This ensures both groups will get some benefit from the study.

This study will enable the investigators to work out the number of pregnant women who are at risk of contracting CMV, how many of these women would agree to take part and to calculate the number of people needed in a future main trial in order to come to a reliable answer. This feasibility study is therefore essential to the design of a large-scale future trial.

Condition Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection, Congenital Cytomegalovirus, Cytomegalovirus Congenital
Treatment Hygiene based educational film
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03511274
SponsorSt George's, University of London
Last Modified on8 March 2021

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