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Month: June 2024

What You Need to Know About CMV

Cytomegalovirus is a viral infection, commonly referred to as CMV, that is typically found in children and is usually harmless in those that are healthy or have strong immune systems. However contracting CMV while pregnant, if you have never had it before, can lead to dangerous and long-lasting illnesses and disabilities in your baby. Even though it is the leading non-genetic cause of hearing loss, only 9% of women are familiar with CMV.

How does it spread?

CMV is spread through contact with body fluid of someone who has or had the virus. You are most susceptible to CMV if you have children, work around children, or work in the healthcare industry. Those with weaker immune systems are also vulnerable to the many complications that can arise from CMV.

How common is CMV?

CMV is fairly common in children, and in healthy people, there are rarely symptoms. Up to 90% of people will be infected with CMV by the age of 80. Once you are infected with CMV, it remains in your body forever. For pregnant women who have never had CMV, contracting it can be extremely dangerous for your unborn baby, and lead to harsh symptoms and even lifelong disabilities.

How does it affect babies?

CMV permanently disables one child every hour. Babies who contract CMV typically appear healthy when they are born and can develop symptoms at birth or later in life. Symptoms can include yellow skin and eyes, enlarged spleen, and lung infections. CMV can also lead to disabilities such as seizures, hearing loss, and growth problems. This virus can be diagnosed through blood, urine, or saliva tests ordered by your provider. Though there is no vaccine to prevent CMV, some symptoms can be managed and treated through medication and infusions.

How can I prevent it?

To protect yourself and your baby from CMV, it is important to avoid contact with saliva or urine, refrain from sharing utensils or drinks, and kissing children on the mouth. Avoiding sharing items like toothbrushes and washing your hands frequently can also help prevent CMV.

It is important to understand your risk of getting CMV, symptoms it can cause, and how to prevent it. To find out if you have ever had CMV, or to learn more about the virus, schedule an appointment with your provider at Greenville Women’s Care, 252-757-3131.