Congenital Cytomegalovirus in Children

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You’re likely to be confused and overwhelmed—not to mention scared—if your infant has been diagnosed with congenital cytomegalovirus. But you can play an active role in helping him get better. Developing a basic understanding of the condition is a great first step as you partner with your child’s health care team to form a treatment plan.

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus related to the herpes virus group of infections.
  • Like herpes, it is inactive at times, but it is incurable and is a lifetime infection.
  • It’s the most common congenital viral infection.
    • About 1 in 150 children born in the United States has congenital CMV.
    • 80 percent of kids with congenital CMV never develop any symptoms or disabilities.
    • The other 20 percent can have problems related to breathing, hearing and seeing, as well as mental disabilities.

If we find that your baby has been infected with CMV, treatment should begin right away to ensure that the condition has a minimal effect on her health.

How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches congenital cytomegalovirus

Here at Children’s, physicians in our Division of Infectious Diseases treats congenital cytomegalovirus in infants.

Physicians in the Division of Infectious Diseases care for children and adolescents with a variety of infections.

  • In addition to treating children, we also are dedicated to researching better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent infectious diseases.

Newborn medicine

At Boston Children's Division of Newborn Medicine, we specialize in treating babies with a wide range of congenital and acquired conditions. Your baby will be seen by a specially trained team of physicians, nurses, therapists and other health professionals who routinely diagnose and treat newborns with critical illnesses.

Leading the way in fetal and neonatal care

Babies who have a congenital neurological condition need intense, specialized care. At the Fetal-Neonatal Neurology Program at Children’s, we provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment for these young children. Because newborns’ brains are in a crucial window of rapid development, we identify problems as early as possible and intervene quickly.

How does the Boston Children’s treat congenital cytomegalovirus?
It’s a fairly simple process. We treat babies born with congenital CMV with a course of intravenous antiviral medication over a period of several weeks.

  • The most commonly used treatments for congenital CMV are called ganciclovir and valganciclovir.
  • Though CMV is a lifelong infection, most babies who receive this treatment won’t experience any other symptoms.
    Essential support services

    Read about general information and resources for Children’s patients and their families.

Cytomegalovirus: Reviewed by Sandra Burchett
© Boston Children’s Hospital; posted in 2011

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