Cytomegalovirus, abbreviated CMV, belongs to thefamily of herpes viruses. This virus usually affects pregnant woman and iseasily passed from the mother to the baby. It can be passed from the mother tothe baby during pregnancy through the blood stream, or it can be passed afterthe child birth when the mother breastfeeds her baby. Cytomegalovirus can be easily spread through apersonal contact or during the transplantations of the organs. It is consideredthat this viral infection is actually one of sexually transmitted diseases.
Cytomegalovirus infection usually does not show anysymptoms. Therefore, many women are unaware that they are infected, which is why, whenthey stay pregnant, they pass this virus to the babies. When the baby is bornwith this virus, it is considered to be congenital cytomegalovirus.
As aforementioned, the cause of this infection isthe virus called cytomegalovirus. When the infection occurs, it is easilyspread from person to person through saliva, urine, feces and semen, as well asthrough blood, tears, vaginal secretions and breast milk. As we see, all thebody’s fluids contain this virus when the infection is present. When a woman is pregnant, she passes the infectionthrough the placenta when the baby is inside of her. On the other side, thebaby may get infected during delivery due to the contact with vaginal secretionsof the infected mother. After the birth, the mother usually passes theinfection to her baby through the breast milk.
Symptoms of cytomegalovirus
Cytomegalovirus usually does not have any noticeablesymptoms. However, sometimes the symptoms that are similar to those of the flumay appear, such as tiredness and swollen lymph nodes. The symptoms of congenital cytomegalovirus in babiesusually do not display themselves, at least in the majority of cases. It is estimatedthat only every tenth child may develop several symptoms. The most common symptoms ofcongenital CMV are rashes at birth, jaundice and inflammation of the retina. Furthermore,the baby with this viral infection may have microcephaly or small head sizeand calcium deposits in the brain. Swollen or enlarged spleen and liver, and seizures are also some of the symptoms of cytomegalovirus.
Treatment of cytomegalovirus
It is very important to treat thisviral infection immediately when it is discovered. Otherwise, several seriouscomplications can be induced, such as Down's Syndrome, Neural tube defects andfetal alcohol syndrome. When cytomegalovirus is diagnosed inthe baby, it is usually treated with ganciclovir or hyperimmune gamma globulin.