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Congenital cytomegalovirus

(kuhn-JEN-uh-tuhl • sie-TOH-meguh-LOH-vie-ruhs)

General Condition Information

Other Names

  • Cytomegalovirus

Condition Type

Birth Prevalence

  • 1 in every 200 babies is born with a congenital cytomegalovirus infection (around 20,000 babies each year in the United States).
  • About 1 in 10 babies with congenital cytomegalovirus will have health problems (about 2,000 babies each year).
  • Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more about how often congenital cytomegalovirus occurs.

Screening Finding

Presence of cytomegalovirus virus

What is congenital cytomegalovirus

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a type of herpes virus. It is very common for children and adults to catch CMV (called acquired CMV). Most people do not know that they have had a CMV infection because it usually causes no symptoms. Once a person is infected with CMV, the virus stays in their body for life.

When a baby is born with CMV infection, it is called congenital CMV. This happens when a pregnant mom passes CMV to the baby during pregnancy. Most babies who are infected with CMV before birth never develop any health problems. However, some babies who are infected with CMV will be born with health problems or develop health problems later in childhood. In these cases, the CMV infection can cause damage to the brain, ears, and other organs. This damage leads to the signs and symptoms of this condition seen in some babies.

Newborn Screening and Follow-Up

Condition Details

Treatment and Management

Most babies with a congenital CMV infection will not need treatment. It is important to talk to your health care provider about which treatment(s) are best for your baby. The goal of treatment is to prevent the health problems this infection causes.

Treatment options can include the following:

  • Regular hearing tests to check for hearing loss
  • Regular vision tests to check for vision loss
  • Antiviral medications
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