Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection

October 18, 2011

What is Cytomegalovirus?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV), is the most common viral disease which affects fetuses. CMV may cause mild or no symptoms at all when contracted during childhood or as and adult, but can cause serious disease in newborns.

In 1 to 3 percent of pregnancies, a woman will contract CMV for the first time. Of those, about 30 percent will have newborns that become infected. Only 10 to 15 percent of newborns who are infected will show symptoms at birth.

CMV can cause hearing and vision loss, mental retardation, lung problems, growth problems, liver, spleen or lung problems in the first few years of life.

How is Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Spread?

CMV is spread through personal contact such as kissing, sexual contact, and contact with urine, or saliva as well as by blood transfusions.

The chances of contracting CMV through casual contact are not great.

CMV infection is very common in daycare settings and through regular contact with young children.

How Can CMV be Prevented?

You can help prevent CMV by frequent hand washing. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Rub your hands with soap for 15 to 20 seconds. Take special care to wash your hands after changing or handling diapers.

Avoid kissing children under the age of 5 or 6 on the mouth or cheek and do not share food or drinks with young children.

How Can CMV be Treated?

There is currently no treatment for CMV.


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