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Cannon MJ Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) epidemiology and awareness. J Clin Virol. 2009; 46:S6-10

ComRes. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/qcml9lr (accessed 24 July 2014)

Dollard SC, Grosse SD, Ross DS New estimates of the prevalence of neurological and sensory sequelae and mortality associated with congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Rev Med Virol. 2007; 17:(5)355-63

Griffiths PD, Baboonian C, Rutter D, Peckham C Congenital and maternal cytomegalovirus infections in a London population. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1991; 98:(2)135-40

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Stowell JD, Forlin-Passoni D, Radford K, Bate SL, Dollard SC, Bialek SR, Cannon MJ, Schmid DS Cytomegalovirus survival and transferability and the effectiveness of common hand-washing agents against cytomegalovirus on live human hands. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014; 80:(2)455-61 https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.03262-13

Vauloup-Fellous C, Picone O, Cordier A-G, Parent-du-Châtelet I, Senat M-V, Frydman R, Grangeot-Keros L Does hygiene counseling have an impact on the rate of CMV primary infection during pregnancy?. J Clin Virology. 2009; 46:(4)S49-S53

Good hygiene can save babies' lives

02 August 2014
6 min read
Volume 22 · Issue 8

In June, newly-formed charity CMV Action held its inaugural awareness month. Although charity awareness months are commonplace these days, cytomegalovirus (CMV) definitely needs its profile raising. Despite the fact that CMV affects 1 in 1000 babies in the UK, very few pregnant women seem to have heard about it and, more worryingly, its damaging potential. Caroline Star, chair of CMV Action, outlines why she believes every pregnant woman should know about the virus and some basic hygiene precautions they can take to reduce their risks.

CMV is a common virus that can infect anyone at any age. Once caught, CMV is with a person for life. It is unlikely that a healthy person will experience any signs or symptoms or any long-term effects from CMV. However, it can be very dangerous to unborn babies.

CMV is the most common infection at birth. Around 1 in 1000 babies born in the UK will be affected by CMV—almost 1000 babies every year (Griffiths et al, 1991; Dollard et al, 2007). As CMV is relatively unheard of, it is a common misconception that it is rare. However, it is more common than Down Syndrome, Toxoplasmosis, Spina Bifida and Rubella (Griffiths et al 1991; Dollard et al, 2007; Cannon, 2009; NHS Choices, 2014).

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