What is cytomegalovirus infection?

Cytomegalovirus is an infection that appears in pregnant women and can affect the baby in a very small percentage of cases. These are the most common symptoms!

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus from the herpes virus family. It is the most common congenital infection , affecting 3-4 / 1,000 live births. In Europe, 50% of women are susceptible to the disease during pregnancy. About 1% of susceptible women will develop the infection during pregnancy, and in half of the cases, the newborn will become infected.
Infection can occur at any time during pregnancy or during the neonatal period (by intimate contact with people who are infected, by breastfeeding if the mother has the disease, or by blood transfusion contaminated by CMV).

Cytomegalovirus infection symptoms

It is a mild infection or without symptoms (the mother does not realize that she is suffering from it because she does not feel sick). The 90% of fetuses who are infected suffer no repercussions to the birth and development is normal. However, 5% of affected babies may develop deafness over time .

5% have symptoms of the infection at birth :

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Microcephaly (abnormally small head)
  • Deafness
  • Convulsions
  • Learning difficulties
  • Lung involvement (pneumonitis)
  • Jaundice
  • Anemia and decreased platelets
  • Ocular involvement
  • Spleen and liver enlargement
  • Death

Treatment and prevention

There is currently no effective treatment for congenital or neonatal cytomegalovirus infection. Cytomegalovirus screening tests in the pregnant mother are not routinely performed during pregnancy; this is so because the overall risk of serious disease to the fetus is very low. Nurseries and hospitals are the places where cytomegalovirus infection is most common. Good hand washing is recommended to avoid contagion.

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