What is congenital cytomegalovirus?
Congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) is a very common type of viral infection. Nearly half (50%) of adults over the age of 40 have been infected with cytomegalovirus. When a pregnant woman has a new or recurring cytomegalovirus infection, the virus may be passed to her unborn baby. When a baby is born with a CMV infection, it is called congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV). Most babies who are infected with cCMV do not have any long term health effects from it. However, about 20% (or 1 in 5) babies with cCMV infection will develop long term problems such as hearing and vision loss, seizures, and developmental disabilities.
How common is congenital cytomegalovirus?
Congenital cytomegalovirus affects about 1 in every 140 babies born each year in the United States.
What can be done for congenital cytomegalovirus?
If a baby screens positive for cCMV on the Eli test, the pediatrician can monitor the baby closely for any signs or symptoms of cCMV infection. Babies who show signs of cCMV can be treated with antiviral drugs. Treatment with these medications may lessen or prevent the long-term complications of cCMV such as hearing loss and developmental disabilities.
How is congenital cytomegalovirus contracted?
Congenital cytomegalovirus happens when the cytomegalovirus passes from a mother to her unborn baby through the placenta. Often, the mother does not even know that she is infected with this virus. There is no way for a mother to prevent or decrease the chances of passing CMV to her unborn baby.