Dr Chrissie Jones is an Associate Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Southampton, UK. Her research interests focus on interventions in pregnancy to prevent infection in early life.
Dr Jones leads studies to reduce the risk of CMV acquisition in pregnancy and is now engaging with policy makers to integrate CMV education into routine antenatal care in the UK. Dr Jones is national coordinating investigator of a CMV vaccine trial of women of childbearing age. She leads the perinatal infection service at Southampton and serves as medical advisor to the charity CMV Action. She is the co-director of ECCI.
She has expertise in the field of maternal vaccination and has led pertussis, RSV and COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in pregnancy. She is the co-director of IMPRINT (imprint-network.co.uk), a global network of experts in vaccination in pregnancy and early life.
Keynote Lecture Abstract
Primary prevention by maternal education
Congenital human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the most common congenital infection globally and causes life-long consequences for as many as 1 in 4 infants, including sensorineural hearing loss and neuro-disability. Yet despite the prevalence of congenital CMV infection and the consequences for individuals, families and society, awareness is low amongst pregnant women and healthcare professionals. Pregnant individuals and healthcare providers strongly agree that CMV risk reductions measures should be included in antenatal care. Behavioural adaptions to avoid direct contact with saliva and urine of young children – the most common source of infection to pregnant women – can reduce the risk of CMV infection. However, in most settings, information is not given to pregnant women about CMV abouthow to reduce their risk of infection. Several studies have shown that education about primary prevention of CMV infection results and changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours and may result in reduced CMV seroconversion, thus reducing congenital CMV infection. All pregnant women should be given information to reduce the risk of CMV infection in pregnancy, using simple positive messages such as:
- Share with care: Try to avoid eating or drinking anything that has been tasted by someone else, especially young children.
- Kiss with care: Try to kiss young children on the forehead instead of on the lips, to avoid direct contact with their saliva.
- Wash with care: Wash your hands carefully after contact with young children’s saliva or urine.