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CMV & Pregnancy
Aug 1, 2002

Can a woman get CMV while pregnant and visiting a patient that has CMV. I visited a patient that had this and now it is posted no pregnant women or people with low immunities. And how would this affect me?

Response from Dr. Aberg

CMV is a type of herpes virus called cytomegalovirus. About half of the general population has been exposed to this virus by age 20. It is more prevalent among certain populations such as men who have sex with men. CMV is found in all body fluids including saliva, urine, blood, genital secretions and feces. It most commonly is transmitted by having long term exposure and repeated contacts such as day care workers while changing diapers or sexual contact with someone who is CMV positive. It may also be transmitted by blood transfusions or organ transplant.

Like herpes, CMV never goes away. Once you are exposed to it, you remain "infected" but that does not necessarily mean you will develop disease. Disease is common among persons who have a defect in their immune system such as HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy or organ transplant. CMV may be transmitted to a baby from its mother as it passes through the genital tract. The baby can become quite ill with pneumonia and a flu-like illness even possibly resulting in death. Hence the reason that there are precautions regarding exposure to pregnant women. Unless you have been tested for CMV, you do not know if you have been previously exposed. If you haven't and you acquired CMV, you may develop a flu-like illness and can become quite ill. This could potentially put your baby at risk because of your illness plus you may be at higher risk of transmitting CMV to your baby at that time.

For the safety of your baby, it is recommended that you not have contact with your friend or family member that Has CMV.

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