Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is the most common congenital infection in the UK, affecting around 1000 babies every year. If babies are infected while in the womb it can result in serious health problems, such as cerebral palsy, developmental delay and hearing loss. Approximately one in five babies with congenital CMV will have long term health problems, which can also include seizures, sight problems, small head size and intellectual disability. Even babies born with the infection who don’t have symptoms at birth are at risk of developing hearing loss later in life.
However, most pregnant women are not aware of CMV or the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of catching it, as information about the virus is not routinely offered in the NHS. The virus is a common one and is generally harmless in adults and children.