What you need to know about CMV

Congenital Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a common viral infection and the leading non-genetic cause of hearing loss in infants born in the United States. All pregnant women are at risk of becoming infected, however less than 10% of women know about CMV. Becoming infected with CMV during a pregnancy can cause serious side effects to unborn children but is preventable with good hygiene habits.

CMV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy

1 in 3 women who become infected with CMV while pregnant will pass the virus to their unborn baby.

30,000 infants (1 in 200) are born with congenital CMV each year

30,000 infants (1 in 200) are born with congenital CMV each year. It is the most common congenital virus affecting newborns.

1 in 5 children born with congenital CMV may have serious complications including hearing loss, visual loss, developmental delays, and seizures

1 in 5 children born with congenital CMV may have serious complications including hearing loss, visual loss, developmental delays, and seizures.

Additional Key Info

CMV is a common virus which is typically harmless to healthy children and adults. It can cause cold-like symptoms such as sore throat, fever, fatigue and swollen glands. Most people don’t realize they have been infected with CMV. Once infected, people carry the CMV virus throughout their lives.

The CMV virus is very common in home and daycare settings. It is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids such as saliva, tears, urine and blood. Many babies and toddlers will catch CMV from their peers and show only mild symptoms of illness. However, these otherwise healthy children may then pass the virus on to their pregnant mothers.

The CMV virus is most dangerous to the unborn child. Birth defects can occur when a woman becomes infected during pregnancy and passes the virus to her unborn child. All pregnant women are at risk of catching CMV. Pregnant women who interact with young children may be at greater risk and should take precautions to prevent infection.

Prevention Information

The best way to prevent CMV during pregnancy is to practice good hygiene habits. Women who are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, should practice these simple tips to reduce the chance of CMV infection.

Avoid kisses from children on the mouth to prevent CMV

Kisses on the forehead

To avoid saliva, kiss children and adults on the cheek or forehead.

Avoid sharing pacifiers to avoid CMV

Clean with water

Do not put a pacifier in your mouth.

Avoid sharing utensils to avoid CMV

Avoid sharing utensils

Do not share food, utensils, drinks or straws.

Avoid sharing toothbrushes to avoid CMV

A toothbrush for everyone

Do not share a toothbrush.

Soap and water

Wash your hands after wiping a nose and changing a diaper.

Wipe down surfaces to prevent CMV

Wipe down surfaces

Clean toys, countertops, and other surfaces that come into contact with children’s saliva or urine.

Get Connected

Nevada Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

The Nevada Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program, part of the Nevada Division of Public Behavioral Health, is here to help you learn how to protect yourself from catching CMV while you are pregnant. Contact us below to find the resources your need.

Get Involved

Are you interested in being part of a CMV support network?

Tell Your Story

Contact us to submit your life experiences of having a loved one diagnosed with congenital CMV. Confidentiality ensured.

Join the Mailing List

You will be added to the Nevada CMV directory to receive future resources, updates, and informational communications.

In the NICU, we treat infants who are severely affected by congenital CMV and who will likely experience long term neurodevelopmental sequela or die despite antiviral treatment and aggressive medical care. Most of their heartbroken parents have never even heard of CMV, and the medical team feels powerless to prevent a tragedy that might have been avoided with a few precautions. Education is the key to stopping the spread of this potentially devastating infection.

Nevada Neonatologist

We really were shocked as we researched more about CMV after Louis' diagnosis to learn just how common it is and how little is done to screen for it. Thankfully, Louis has been doing well. But we are very glad we learned he had it so early, so we knew what to monitor and look out for.

Louis’ Parents

Resources / Tools

Learning about congenital CMV, or any of its wide-ranging developmental diagnoses, often presents a range of challenges for both the child and his or her family members. These are a few of the resources available to you and your family.

National CMV Foundation

Works to educate women of childbearing age about congenital CMV

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CMV

CDC aims to reduce the burden of congenital CMV by conducting research and increasing awareness of CMV among public and healthcare providers.

Nevada Dual Sensory Impairment Project

Works to enhance the educational services provided to children and youth with vision and hearing impairments.

CDC Brochure

What Women Should Know About Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Congenital CMV Disease Research Clinic and Registry

Works to provide research on the biology, epidemiology, clinical manifestations, methods to diagnose, treat, and prevent congenital CMV as well as to raise public awareness.

Online Resources List

For ongoing or long-term health issues, this list of resources may be of help.