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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that can infect anyone. Once infected, your body retains the virus for life. Most people don’t know they have CMV, because it rarely causes problems in healthy people. But if you’re pregnant, CMV is cause for concern because the infection can be transmitted to your baby. Congenital CMV (cCMV) is the most common preventable cause of birth defects.
What is the impact of congenital CMV?
1 in 200 Canadian infants are infected with CMV during pregnancy.
If a pregnant woman is living with a young child infected with CMV, her chance of developing the infection is 1 in 4.
1 in 5 children infected with CMV during pregnancy will have a permanent disability such as hearing loss or developmental delay.
How to lower the risk of CMV in pregnancy
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds
Do not share food, drinks, or eating utensils with young children
Do not put a child’s pacifier in your mouth
Do not share a toothbrush with a young child
Avoid contact with saliva by kissing a young child on the forehead instead of the lips
Clean toys, countertops and other surfaces that come in contact with children’s urine or saliva