Learn about CMVCytomegalovirus (sy toe MEG a low vy rus) or CMV, is a common virus that is usually harmless to people with a healthy immune system. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMV is the most common congenital (meaning from birth) viral infection in the United States. 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV in the United States. More children will have disabilities due to congenital CMV than other well-known infections and syndromes, including Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and Pediatric HIV/AIDS.
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- Congenital CMV
- CMV is a virus that can be transmitted to an unborn child from a pregnant mother experiencing a primary or recurrent CMV infection. CMV can cause serious disease in babies who were infected with CMV before birth (referred to as congenital CMV). Children born with congenital CMV may develop permanent medical conditions and disabilities, such as deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities, seizures, and death.
- CMV poses a major risk to pregnant women, especially mothers, daycare workers, preschool teachers, therapists, and nurses. CMV is present in saliva, urine, tears, blood, mucus, and other bodily fluids. Frequent handwashing with soap and water is important after contact with diapers or oral secretions of babies and young children.
- Recent studies indicate that CMV hyperimmune globulin treatment may reduce the risk of congenital infection and/or neonatal disease when given to pregnant women experiencing a primary CMV infection. Ganciclovir and Valganciclovir are antiviral treatments that may be beneficial to a newborn with symptomatic congenital CMV. Ganciclovir and Valganciclovir may prevent hearing loss and improve head and brain growth.
- Currently there is no CMV vaccine available to prevent congenital CMV. Experts believe that a CMV vaccine is possible within the next 10 to 20 years. While there are numerous pharmaceutical industry-sponsored clinical trials for CMV vaccines, they focus on other at-risk populations. While important, data from these trials cannot be applied towards a vaccine that would target congenital CMV specifically.