Information about Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

a cell showing the cell coat, genome, capsid, and glycoprotein

Overview of CMV

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common cause of congenital disabilities in babies in developed countries. Pregnant women who become infected with CMV can pass the virus onto their unborn baby. Congenital CMV (cCMV) infection can result in multiple disabilities in the baby such as hearing loss, vision loss, small head size, lack of coordination, and in rare cases, death.

Why Should You Care?

CMV is the most common congenital infection, infecting one in 200 infants, or approximately 2,500 babies in the world each day. One baby is permanently disability by cCMV every hour. Moreover, cCMV causes more long-term problems and childhood deaths than Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and neural tube defects.

However, only 9% of women know about CMV and fewer know about the steps to take to reduce the chance of acquiring a CMV infection during pregnancy and passing it on to their unborn baby.

CMV Public Health and Policy Efforts in the United States

Recognizing the lack of awareness about cCMV and its potential devastating, long-term effects on babies and families, grassroots efforts have encouraged state lawmakers to pass legislation requiring public awareness initiatives, education programs, and testing of newborns for CMV. As of April 2022, 11 states have laws in place that mandate education, hearing-targeted screening, or both and many other states are in progress of passing legislation. An additional state, Minnesota, passed universal cCMV screening for all newborns that will go into effect in 2023. Additional legislation details are available on the National CMV Foundation's website. Moreover, many individual hospitals and hospital systems have hearing-targeted cCMV screening policies in place.

CMV Public Health and Policy Efforts in Canada

In 2019, Ontario became the first Canadian province (and the first jurisdiction in the world) to implement a program that screens all newborns for cCMV at birth (as a risk factor for hearing loss). In February 2022, Saskatchewan became the second province to adopt a universal screening program. Targeted screening protocols are currently in place across much of British Columbia, all of Manitoba and several isolated hospitals/sites in other provinces. Legislation has been presented in Manitoba, which would make universal screening mandatory across the province. CMV Canada is leading advocacy initiatives across the country to advance screening policy, raise public awareness and improve educational resources. For more information, please visit:

CMV Resources

Congenital CMV 101: from Prevention to Treatment, a webinar by Dr. Michael Cannon, CDC Epidemiologist
Congenital CMV Non-Profit Advocacy Organizations