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  • Writer's pictureBaby Whisperers

What is CMV?

CMV is the #1 infectious cause of birth defects in the United States.

And yet... 91% of women have never heard of CMV. In the United States, approximately every 30. minutes a baby is born with CMV.

What exactly is CMV?

Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a viral infection that presents symptoms in adults much like a common cold. For most people, CMV does not pose a health risk. But for some, like people who have a weakened immune system or newborns, CMV could have serious consequences.

Moms can unknowingly pass the infection to their unborn baby, potentially causing long-term defects. Moms-to-be should talk to their doctors about CMV and take precautions.

CMV infections in infants can lead to:

  • Hearing loss

  • Vision impairment

  • Learning disability

  • Decreased muscle strength and coordination

What is the likelihood of transmission?

1 in 3 expecting mothers with CMV may pass it on to their babies. When there are other children or toddlers in the household, that risk increases. It’s even higher in Black communities, at 2 times the rate of others. The more people are educated about CMV, the better chance we have at reducing the spread.

How to spot infection

Transmission of CMV typically occurs through direct contact with bodily fluid, including saliva, urine, blood, tears and breast milk. In adults, symptoms may include fatigue, fever, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, or headaches.

Signs of a potential CMV infection at birth:

  • Rash

  • Jaundice(yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes)

  • Microcephaly(small head)

  • Low birth weight

  • Hepatosplenomegaly(enlarged liver and spleen)

  • Seizures

  • Retinitis(damaged eye retina)

How can you help prevent CMV?

One of the most proactive and effective ways to prevent CMV transmission is to practice simple hygiene practices—the ones which are already a part of our lives.

Help prevent CMV transmission by:

  • Not sharing food, utensils, drinks or straws

  • Never putting a pacifier in your mouth

  • Only using your own toothbrush

  • Avoiding contact with saliva when kissing a child

  • Washing your hands

For more information, please check out and the CDC CMV website.

As always- like, comment, and share!

-The Baby Whisperers

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