Nov 8, 2001
As a pregnant nurse, should I be concerned about taking care of a patient who has CMV if I use universal precautions and good handwashing?
Response from Dr. Luzuriaga
Yes, these measures are generally recommended to prevent the acquisition of CMV infection.
CMV infection in pregnant women raises a lot of concern since CMV infection of the fetus is one of the most common congenital causes of certain forms of deafness and mental retardation. Many women have been infected with CMV prior to pregancy and pass the virus to their infants without apparent sequellae. However, the risks of symptomatic CMV infection and sequellae are much higher when a woman acquires CMV infection for the first time during pregnancy. CMV is spread through contact with secretions (esp oral secretions and urine). Infections rates vary geographically but many infected individuals are asymptomatic and intermittently shed CMV. So, universal precautions and good handwashing are recommended for all patients, whether they have been identified as CMV-infected or not.
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