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Preventing Congenital CMV infection

Most babies with congenital (meaning present at birth) CMV infection never have health problems. But in some babies, congenital CMV infection causes health problems that may be apparent at birth or may develop later during infacy or childhood. In the United states, about half of preganant women have never been infected with CMV. About 1% to 4% of theses women have primary (or first) CMV infection during their pregnancy. CMV can be transmitted from a pregnant women to her fetus during pregnancy. Most people have no symptoms when they get infected with CMV, but some may have symptoms similar to mononucleosis.

Transmission of CMV infection
The virus is generally passed from infected people to others through direct contact with body fluids such as urine, vaginal secretions, and semen. Infants and children who are infected with CMV after birth may shed CMV in their urine and saliva. And these are body fluids that parents and other caregivers have frequent contact with through activities such as diaper changing, nose wiping, and feeding. Although the virus is not highly contagious, it has been shown to spread amoung househod members. For pregnant women the two most common exposures to CMV are through sexual contact and through contact with the urine of young children with CMV infection.

For now, there are no licensed treatment for pregnant women who become infected with CMV during pregnancy. The most important thing is know what you can do to reduce the risk of exposure.

Here are some ways to reduce risk of exposure to CMV
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds after
  • Changing diapers
  • feeding young children
  • wiping a young child's nose or drool
  • Handling children's toys
  • Don't share food, drinks, or eating utensils used by young children
  • Do not put a childs pacifier in your mouth
  • Do not share toothbrush with a young child
  • Avoid contact with salive when kissing child
  • Clean toys, countertops, and other surfaces that come into contact with children's urine or saliva