Learn the causes and symptoms of this virus, as well as the risks to your baby.

December 06, 2007

Up to 85 percent of adults will contract cytomegalovirus (CMV) before age 40, but few people know how dangerous it can be for an unborn baby. We got the facts from Parents advisor Darshak Sanghavi, M.D.

What Is CMV?

CMV is a herpes virus that spreads through saliva, mucus, and other bodily fluids. Most people get it early in life, as it's easily transmitted among young kids. Once you're infected, the virus remains in your system.

What are the symptoms of CMV?

Some people with CMV don't have any symptoms at all. Others may have the following signs of the infection:

  • A fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Fatigue

What are the risks of CMV to my unborn baby?

Most cases of CMV are harmless. But if you catch this infection 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.

Who should be tested for CMV?

If you develop a flu-like illness with severe exhaustion, see your doctor for a blood test, advises Centers for Disease Control. If you have CMV, your doctor will explain how to avoid complications. Only babies whose mothers have CMV are tested for the infection. The good news: Most babies who get CMV after birth stay healthy, unless they were born very premature or at a low birthweight.

How is CMV treated in pregnant women?

The FDA has not approved any treatments for pregnant women infected with CMV, according to CDC

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