Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common viral infection that usually goes unnoticed. For most people, the symptoms of CMV—if any—may resemble the common cold, such as fatigue, fever, and sore throat. CMV is found in bodily fluids like saliva, so it is easily passed from person to person in everyday situations. Once someone is infected with CMV, it stays inactive, or “sleeps,” in the body for life.1 At certain times in a person’s life, such as during pregnancy, CMV can reactivate.
An active CMV infection during pregnancy puts the unborn baby at risk of birth defects. These include hearing loss, vision loss, or cerebral palsy, which can lead to long-term disability or, in severe cases, death.2 Infection-related long-term disability include hearing loss, vision loss, and cerebral palsy.2 Cerebral palsy, caused by abnormal brain development, makes muscle control difficult. Children with cerebral palsy may need special equipment to walk or may not be able to walk at all. They may also have joint problems, speech problems, or seizures.
Currently, there is no approved vaccine for the prevention of CMV infection.