Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that in a healthy person may cause a flu-like illness or sometimes no symptoms at all. A majority of people have been exposed to the virus at some point in their lives. However, if a pregnant mother is exposed, the virus can spread to the baby. Congenital CMV (cCMV) is the most common infection that babies can be born with.
CMV can cause a range of birth defects, including low birth weight, a small head, a rash, vision loss, liver or lung problems, neurological issues, or developmental delays. More commonly, it can cause hearing loss. CMV is the most common non-hereditary cause of sensorineural hearing loss in infants and children.
CMV is commonly spread by young children, especially toddlers in daycare. It is passed through body secretions, like saliva or urine. Children under 3-years-old can carry CMV in their secretions for months or even years after being exposed.
Here are three main tips for preventing the spread of CMV:
Rawlinson, W. D., Boppana, S. B., Fowler, K. B., et al. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy and the neonate: consensus recommendations for prevention, diagnosis, and therapy. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2017;17(6): e177-e188.
Adler SP, Finney JW, Manganello AM, Best AM. Prevention of child-to-mother transmission of cytomegalovirus among pregnant women. J Pediatr. 2004;145(4):485–91.
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