Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common, but little known, virus. In adults, CMV typically causes few, or very minor, symptoms, but can cause serious birth defects in infants born to women infected during pregnancy.
CMV is present in many body fluids, including urine, saliva, tears, mucus, breastmilk, and blood. It can spread through direct, prolonged contact with these body fluids, especially from babies and young children.
About 40,000 pregnant women become infected every year in the United States.1 Pregnant women can pass the CMV infection to their unborn babies. Many babies born with CMV infections have no symptoms and live normal, healthy lives. However, some CMV-infected babies may experience mental, behavioral, and physical developmental issues.2
This page provides information about CMV for workers and employers, including infection prevention measures for:
- Childcare workers
- Healthcare workers
- Workers who are pregnant or may become pregnant and their sexual partners
The page includes sections on:
Discusses the details of CMV infection, including how the virus is spread, symptoms of infection, and options for testing.
Control and Prevention
Provides general guidelines for protecting workers from exposure to CMV, along with specific information for childcare and healthcare workers and employers.
- Childcare and healthcare workers are among those at increased risk for exposure to cytomegalovirus (CMV).
- CMV can cause serious birth defects in infants born to women infected during pregnancy.
- People infected by CMV may have minor flu-like symptoms; however, 90% of adults show no symptoms at all.
- CMV is a member of the herpesvirus family.
- There is no recognized vaccine or treatment for CMV infection.
- CMV may reactivate after long dormant periods.
- 8% - 20% of childcare staff are infected with CMV each year.
- 40% - 70% of childcare staff have evidence of a prior infection.
1 Adler, S. P. (2015). Prevention of Maternal–Fetal Transmission of Cytomegalovirus. EBioMedicine, 2(9), 1027-1028.
2 Congenital CMV Outcomes. (2018). National CMV Foundation.