CMV (cytomegalovirus) is a herpes virus. It is very common. It affects people of all ages and in all parts of the U.S. In most cases CMV causes mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. But it can cause serious problems in an unborn baby or newborn.
CMV is a virus that is spread from a person with the virus to someone else. The virus can spread:
Most babies with CMV that is present at birth (congenital CMV) don’t have symptoms. Symptoms may include:
Babies with CMV that is passed along during birth or through breastmilk (perinatal CMV) may not have symptoms. Signs and symptoms are usually seen only in very premature or sick newborns between 3 weeks and 6 months of age. They may include:
The symptoms of CMV may look like other health conditions. Talk with your baby's healthcare provider if you think your baby may have CMV infection.
Most CMV infections in the mother are not diagnosed because the virus causes few symptoms. Tests for diagnosis include:
Other tests may include:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Healthcare providers usually recommend against treating newborns without symptoms. They do not agree on the treatment for many newborns with symptoms.
Treatment with medicine that works against the virus (ganciclovir or valganciclovir) is recommended for some babies with CMV. Babies may get this treatment if they have the following:
Babies with hearing loss or small head size may take ganciclovir long-term.
Possible complications of CMV may include:
Because it is so common, it is difficult to prevent a CMV infection. The following measures may help to prevent CMV infection, especially in pregnant women:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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