Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has not been given enough attention in spite the fact that it is one of the leading causes of mental retardation and sensorineural deafness among newborns. So if you are particular about learning everything you need to know about your pregnancy read on to learn more about CMV infection.
CMV infection is relatively hard to diagnose if you are to look only at the symptoms.
Some women may present mild flu-like symptoms of body weakness, persistent low grade fever, presence of nodules around the neck area and in moderate but rare cases, pneumonia and hepatitis.
There are even those who do not present any symptoms at all, but have the virus dormant in their bloodstream and are only reactivated once exposed to a new strain of CMV.
If you want to be sure that you are safe from CMV infection, discuss with your health provider about the simple blood screening to test for the appearance of a CMV virus-specific IgG or IgM in your serum. This test is not requested as part of the routine so it may help give you peace of mind by having it done.
What happens if you tested positive for it? The truth is, there are a number of complications that can happen and the major one is you passing it on to your baby.
If your baby acquires it, it may pose several complications like: slow or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), microcephaly (underdevelopment of the brain), hepatosplenomegaly (swelling of the liver and spleen), petechiae, jaundice, chorioretinitis, thrombocytopenia and anemia are some of them.
Long term exposure to the CMV virus can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, mental retardation, delay in psychomotor development, and visual disorders.
This can be very sad news for you, but some health providers may have to discuss with you options for termination of pregnancy in severe cases.
Your positive serum test for CMV is however, not parallel to fetal infection, but studies show a high 30% to 40% of intrauterine infection.
To determine if your baby has the infection a sonographic ultrasound and amniocentesis will be done.
Ultrasound will be done at 2 to 4 weeks interval after the infection to determine any sonographic abnormalities in the infant like: IUGR, microcephaly, intracranial calcifications and abnormalities, ascites/pleural effusion, oligohydramnios/polyhydramnios and liver calcifications are some of them.
Due to the seriousness of this condition, it is best advised to discuss your concerns with your personal health provider, especially if you experienced influenza or influenza like symptoms at any time during your pregnancy.
Currently, there are recommendations to include in the routine exams for pregnant women the serology screening for CMV. Also, research studies are continuously being made to develop a vaccine to protect the mother and the child against CMV infection.