How is cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection transmitted?

Updated: Jul 07, 2021
  • Author: Ricardo Cedeno-Mendoza, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Individuals at an increased risk for CMV infection include individuals who attend or work at daycare centers, patients who undergo blood transfusions, persons who have multiple sex partners, and recipients of CMV mismatched organ or bone marrow transplants.

CMV is transmitted from person to person via close contact with an individual who is excreting the virus. It can be spread through the placenta, blood transfusions, organ transplantation, and breast milk. It can also be spread through sexual transmission.

In the United States, congenital CMV transmission from a mother with acute infection during pregnancy is a significant cause of neurological abnormalities and deafness in approximately 8000 newborns annually. [11, 12]

Multiple genetically distinct strains of CMV exist. Differences in genotypes may be associated with differences in virulence. Infection with more than one strain of CMV is possible and has been observed in organ transplant recipients. Dual infection is a possible explanation for congenital CMV infection in children of CMV-seropositive mothers.

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