Objectives: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is common in the general population. CMV infection negatively affects disease course in transplant recipients and HIV patients. Whereas primary CMV infections may occur sporadically in seronegative patients, all seropositive patients with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD) are at risk for CMV reactivation due to the inflammatory mucosal and use of immunosuppressive medication. It is unclear whether latent CMV infection, and risk of reactivations, influences long-term disease outcomes. In this study, we aim to explore whether CMV infection affects disease outcomes in IBD patients. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional cohort study with 1404 patients with IBD from a single center. Clinical characteristics and disease outcomes were prospectively collected. We scrutinized CMV serology test results and performed additional CMV serology testing if serum was available. Results: Out of 699 IBD patients with CMV serology, 303 (43.3%) were seropositive, comparable to the general Dutch population. CMV seropositivity was associated with older age, longer IBD disease duration, non-Western origin, birth outside the Netherlands and a lower educational level (p-values ≤.004). CMV seropositivity was not associated with more complicated long-term disease outcomes of IBD (p-values >.05). Seropositive patients presented with symptoms and were diagnosed at an older age compared to seronegative patients (p-values <.01). Conclusions: CMV seropositivity does not influence disease outcomes of IBD patients and seems to be associated with a delay in IBD onset. Guidelines regarding CMV screening in patients with IBD are currently based on a low level of evidence. These data support the recommendation that routine CMV serology measurement is not necessary in the clinical care of IBD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
Early online date1-Jul-2020
Publication statusPublished - 3-Jul-2020


  • Cytomegalovirus
  • latent infection
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • disease outcomes
  • Crohn's disease
  • ulcerative colitis


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