Stop CMV


June is National Congenital CMV Awareness Month.  The “Hands to Stop CMV” Awareness Campaign is aiming to collect photos of people with “Stop CMV” written on their hand to be posted online for public viewing and voting during the month of June.  The photo receiving the most votes will be featured in a public service announcement for Stop CMV.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV), is a common viral infection, a member of the herpes virus family, and is most common in young children.

About half of pregnant women have had CMV in the past and most of these women do not need to be concerned about it during pregnancy. However, an infected woman can pass the virus on to her baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Most infected babies have no serious problems from the virus, but some infected newborns develop serious illness or lasting disabilities, or even die.  Women need to know this.

CMV is the most common congenital (present at birth) infection in the United States. Each year about 1 in 150 babies is born with congenital CMV infection. About 8,000 children each year develop lasting disabilities caused by congenital CMV infection.

A woman who contracts CMV for the first time during pregnancy has about a 1-in-3 chance of passing the virus on to her fetus. She can pass CMV on to her baby at any stage of pregnancy. However, studies suggest that babies are more likely to develop serious complications when their mother is infected in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant women should be aware of the basic prevention measures to guard against CMV infection:  frequent hand washing after contact with urine, nasal secretions and saliva of young children, including after changing diapers wiping noses and drool, or picking up toys ; not kissing young children on the mouth; not sharing food, towels, or utensils with them.

For more information read our fact sheet on CMV in pregnancy.   We’ll be posting on this important topic again later this month.

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