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 contract CMV can pass the virus onto their unborn baby, which can result in multiple disabilities including 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 200infants, or approximately 2,500 babies in the world each day. 1 in 5 of those babies, or 500 each day, will have permanent disabilities or die due to the virus. Congenital CMV 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 CMVand 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 congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) and its potential devastating, long-term effectson babies, state lawmakers in the United States have passed legislation requiring public awareness initiatives, education programs,and testing of newborns for CMV who fail a newborn hearing screening. As of January 2018, nine states have laws in place that mandate education or screening: Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas,and Utah. Additional states have proposed and are pursuing similar legislation. Details about each state's policies are available at

Several states in New England and the greater Northeast have proposed legislation: Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania. The momentum and advocacy in those states is influencing the work of public health staff, birthing hospitals, and policy makers.

CMV Resources

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

CMV Public Health Initiatives

CMV Registries