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What is CMV?
Up to 80 percent of adults will contract cytomegalovirus (CMV) before age 40, but few people know how dangerous it can be for an unborn baby. CMV is a herpes virus that spreads through saliva, mucus, and other bodily fluids. Most people get it early in life, since it's easily transmitted among young kids. As with all herpes viruses, once you're infected, the virus remains in your system.
CMV has few symptoms, though you might have the following:
• A fever
• Sore throat
• Swollen glands
Most cases are harmless. But if you catch CMV for the first time while you're pregnant, there's a greater risk that your baby will suffer complications such as deafness, blindness, and developmental delays. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately a third of women who become infected with CMV for the first time during pregnancy pass the virus to their unborn babies (it's the most common virus transmitted from pregnant mom to unborn child). While there are no ways to eliminate all risks of getting infected (vaccines are still being developed), the best way to protect unborn babies is for moms-to-be to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands often with soap and water. If you're worried, be safe, and see your doctor for a blood test.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.