Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common infectious cause of birth defects.

About 1 out of 5 babies with congenital CMV infection will have birth defects or other long-term health problems, such as hearing loss. In 2011, Congress passed a resolution naming June “National CMW Awareness Month.” CDC takes this opportunity to increase awareness of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) among healthcare providers, pregnant women, and parents.

What is Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV)?

Congenital cytomegalovirus (CCMV) infection is the most common intrauterine infection in the U.S. and the most common cause of non-genetic sensorineural hearing loss in children. Most of the time, the disease is asymptomatic (85 to 90%).

The symptomatic congenital disease occurs most often after primary maternal infection in pregnancy. Although significantly less common, symptomatic CCMV carries a mortality risk of up to 7 to 12% in the early neonatal period. There is an increased risk of severe morbidity due to CNS damage, leading to neurodevelopmental delays, hearing loss, and vision impairment.

Asymptomatic disease is not entirely benign as 10 to 15% go on to develop long term morbidities. Despite these risks, there is poor awareness of CCMV among women of reproductive age.

CMV in children


There are simple and effective prevention measures you and your loved ones can take to mitigate the risk of CMV transmission during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about CMV. Here are 5 Simple Tips to Help Prevent CMV:


Avoid contact with saliva when kissing a child

Try not to kiss a child under six years of age on the lips or cheek to avoid contact with saliva. Instead, kiss them on the forehead or top of the head and give them a big, long hug.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds, especially after the following activities:

  • Wiping a young child’s nose or drool
  • Changing diapers
  • Feeding a young child
  • Handling children’s toys

Do not share a toothbrush

Toddlers love to imitate everything Mommy does, including pretending to brush their teeth with Mommy’s toothbrush. Store your toothbrush in an area that your child cannot reach.

Do not put a pacifier in your mouth

How many of us our guilty of wanting to clean our child’s pacifier by putting it in our mouth? Or, your hands are full and you put the pacifier in your mouth just to hold it for a moment? Saliva on your child’s pacifier may transfer CMV to you and your unborn baby. Try to get in the habit of putting a pacifier on your pinky, not in your mouth.

Do not share food, utensils, drinks or straws

Saliva may remain on food, cups or cutlery and could transfer a CMV infection to you and your unborn baby. Although it may be easier to feed your child from your own plate or you do not want to waste remaining food from your child’s plate, it is best not to share food or cutlery.

Congenital CMV – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

What is congenital CMV? Congenital cytomegalovirus infection is the infection of a fetus with cytomegalovirus, or CMV, during intrauterine life. Video provided by Osmosis