The best approach to reduce congenital cytomegalovirus infection (cCMVi) is to practice behaviors that reduce cytomegalovirus (CMV) transmission during pregnancy. Expanding awareness and knowledge of CMV is expected to result in increased practice of preventative behaviors. To this end, it is necessary to understand current awareness and knowledge of CMV.
This web-based cross-sectional survey assessed the awareness and knowledge of cCMVi among pregnant women and the general public in Japan. Participants aged 20–45 years (pregnant and non-pregnant women, and men) were identified from a consumer panel. Study outcomes (all participants) included awareness of cCMVi and other congenital conditions. Among those aware of cCMVi, outcomes included knowledge of CMV transmission routes, long-term outcomes of cCMVi, and behaviors to prevent CMV transmission during pregnancy. Outcomes limited to pregnant women included the practice of preventative behaviors and opinion on how easy it is to implement these behaviors. The data of the pregnant group (pregnant at the time of the survey) were compared with those of the general group (non-pregnant women and men).
There were 535 participants in the pregnant group and 571 in the general group. Awareness of cCMVi was generally low (pregnant, 16.1%; general, 10.2%). Pregnant participants were significantly more aware of most congenital conditions than those in the general group, including cCMVi (P = 0.004). Knowledge about CMV/cCMVi was limited; there were no significant differences between the two groups for 24 of the 26 knowledge questions. A small proportion (one third or less) of pregnant women practiced behaviors to prevent the transmission of CMV, though most (73.3–95.3%) pregnant women who were aware of cCMVi considered such behaviors easy to implement.
Awareness and knowledge of CMV/cCMVi is low among pregnant women in Japan; the level of knowledge is similar to that among the general public. This needs to be improved. Most pregnant women considered behaviors to prevent CMV transmission easy to perform, which indicates that effectively educating pregnant women regarding the long-term outcomes of cCMVi, CMV transmission routes, and preventative behaviors will contribute to a reduced incidence of cCMVi.
UMIN Clinical Trials Registry, UMIN000041260.