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Preventing Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection during pregnancy

Cytomegalovirus (sy toe MEG a low vy rus), or CMV, is a common virus that infects people of all ages. Most people become infected with CMV during their lifetimes. Most CMV infections are “silent,” meaning most people who are infected with CMV have no signs or symptoms and suffer no harmful effects. However, when CMV infection occurs during a woman’s pregnancy, the baby can become infected before birth. CMV infection before birth is known as “congenital CMV.” CMV is the most common congenital infection in the United States.

In Utah, about one child is born with a congenital CMV infection each day. About 1 of every 5 children born with congenital CMV, one child each week born in Utah, will develop permanent problems due to the infection. Permanent health problems or disabilities due to congenital CMV infection can include: hearing loss; vision loss; developmental disability; cerebral palsy; seizures; and death.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the best way to protect your baby from congenital CMV is to protect yourself.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds, especially after
    • changing diapers
    • feeding a young child
    • wiping a young child’s nose or drool
    • handling children’s toys
  • Don't share food, drinks, eating utensils, or a toothbrush with a child.
  • Do not put a child's pacifier in your mouth.
  • Use soap and water or a disinfectant to clean toys, counter tops, and other surfaces that may have a child's saliva or urine on them.
  • Avoid contact with a child's saliva when kissing or snuggling.

Learn more about CMV at http://utahcmvcouncil.org or http://health.utah.gov/cmv.