Scripture: Luke 2:5-6New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

National Congenital Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month


Cytomegalovirus (sy toe MEG a low vy rus) or CMV, is a common virus that is usually harmless to people with a healthy immune system. However, CMV is the most common congenital (meaning from birth) viral infection in the United States. 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV in the United States.

What is Congenital CMV?

CMV is a virus that can be transmitted to an unborn child from a pregnant mother experiencing a primary or recurrent CMV infection. CMV can cause serious disease in babies who were infected with CMV before birth.

CMV poses a major risk to mothers, daycare workers, preschool teachers, therapists, and nurses. CMV is present in saliva, urine, tears, blood, mucus, and other bodily fluids.

If one or more of the following signs are identified via ultrasound, an amniocentesis should be done to confirm a congenital CMV infection: Placental thickening; Organomegaly – abnormal enlargement of organs; Hepatomegaly – abnormal enlargement of the liver; Splenomegaly – abnormal enlargement of the spleen; Pyelectasis – dilation of the renal pelvis; Megaloureter – abnormal dilation of the ureter; Ascites – gastroenterological term for an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity;Fetal hydrops – accumulation of fluid in the fetal compartments; Abnormality of amniotic fluid; Microcephaly – small head circumference, more than two standard deviations smaller than average; Cerebral ventriculomegaly – dilation of the lateral ventricles of the brain; Intracranial calcifications – the build up of calcium salts in the soft tissue of the brain; Periventricular,Hepatic and Intestinal echodensities.

A newborn may have congenital CMV if they are showing any of the following signs:

Thrombocytopenia – low blood platelet levels; Petechiae (purpura) – Red or purple spots on the body; Jaundice – yellow skin and eyes;Microcephaly – small head size; Small size at birth; Premature birth of unknown etiology; Liver, Spleen, Lung, Bleeding andGrowth problems; Seizures; Hearing and Vision loss or Mental disability.

Recent studies indicate that CMV hyperimmune globulin treatment may reduce the risk of congenital infection and/or neonatal disease when given to pregnant women experiencing a primary CMV infection. Ganciclovir and Valganciclovir are antiviral treatments that may be beneficial to a newborn with symptomatic congenital CMV.