The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns expectant mothers about acquiring CMV during pregnancy and encourages them to take steps to prevent infection.8However, prevention can be particularly challenging for these women, who often already have young children.

Young children, particularly those up to age 3 years, are the most common vectors of CMV transmission due to the fact that they lack control of their bodily fluids and the virus is shed largely in the saliva and urine. Approximately 50% of children in day care are actively shedding CMV9and could ultimately be transmitting the infection to their mothers, who may be pregnant.

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Yinon and colleagues estimate that approximately 40,000 U.S. infants per year are born with CMV infection. Of these children, 20% will be affected, meaning they will be born with active symptoms. This translates to roughly 8,000 children per year who will have long-term disabilities due to this infection and approximately 400 who will die in childhood each year. In addition, 5% to 15% of the children born asymptomatic will develop sequelae later in childhood.3

Table 1: Herpesvirus in humans

Formal Name Common Name
Human herpesvirus 1 Herpes simplex virus 1
Human herpesvirus 2 Herpes simplex virus 2
Human herpesvirus 3 Varicella-zoster virus
Human herpesvirus 4 Epstein-Barr virus/Mononucleosis
Human herpesvirus 5 Cytomegalovirus
Human herpesvirus 6 Roseola infantum
Human herpesvirus 7 Roseola infantum
Human herpesvirus 8 Kaposi sarcoma
Compiled by Anna Lilia Piña, APRN, MSN, NP-C