What is Cytomegalovirus?
Cytomegalovirus (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. More children have disabilities due to congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus) than other well-known infections and syndromes, including Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and Pediatric HIV/AIDS. A 2008 study of women in the United States found that only 14% had heard of CMV. An earlier study in 2006 found that 22% of women in the United States had heard of CMV, compared with 97% who had heard of Down Syndrome and 98% who had heard of HIV/AIDS. CMV prevention and treatment during pregnancy can prevent birth defects and developmental disabilities.
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. For pregnant women, this is especially important if they are around a child who is in daycare, playgroup, or interacting with other young children on a regular basis.