Good hygiene can save babies' lives
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).
Register now to continue reading
Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:
Limited access to our clinical or professional articles
New content and clinical newsletter updates each month