June is National Congenital CMV Awareness Month

National Congenital CMV Awareness Month


What is a Congenital CMV?


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a herpes virus that is very common and usually harmless. Fifty to eighty out of one hundred individuals are infected with this virus by the time they are 40 years old. Most people do not even know they are infected and do not show symptoms. Only 14% of women know what CMV is. CMV becomes a serious condition when babies are infected with it before birth. This is called congenital (present at birth) CMV. Around 1 in 150 babies are born with congenital CMV and 1 in 5 of those infected will develop permanent conditions such as hearing loss or developmental disabilities.


How is CMV Spread and Diagnosed?


CMV is spread by close contact of saliva, urine, or other bodily fluids with someone that is infected. It can also be passed on from mother to fetus during pregnancy.  Most people do not have symptoms when they are infected. Those that do show symptoms may get a fever, sore throat, fatigue, or swollen glands. However since these are all common symptoms to many other illness, the only way to properly diagnose this condition is through a blood test. In babies it is diagnosed within 2-3 weeks after birth through their urine, saliva, or blood.


How is CMV Prevented?


Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after touch kid’s toys, wiping a child’s nose or drool, feeding a child, and changing diapers. Do not share any drinks, food, or eating utensils that have been used by children. Do not share a toothbrush with a young child and avoid saliva contact when kissing a child. Do not put a child’s pacifier in your mouth. Always thoroughly clean surfaces and toys that have a child have put their urine or saliva on.


How is CMV Treated?


Individuals that are not showing symptoms and are not planning on becoming pregnant usually do not have to worry about treating the virus. There is no drug to treat CMV for those that do wish to treat it. There is also no vaccine to prevent against CMV, however developing this vaccine is a top priority to the Institute of Medicine. An infected pregnant women can take certain treatments to reduce the risk of infection to their fetus, however once the fetus in infected the treatment is not effective. When a baby is diagnosed with congenital CMV their hearing and vision should be tested right away. They should also be seen by their doctor in order to know more about the risks and benefits of antiviral treatments.



** It is best to see your primary care physician in order to prevent and treat CMV. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center. **



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