CMV is a Leading Cause of Hearing Loss at Birth.

Every year in Australia, 400 children will be born with life-long disability caused by a common virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV). 

CMV is spread from person-to-person through contact with saliva, urine, tears, nasal mucus and intimate contact. Infected infants and young children, who may otherwise remain well, can easily pass this virus on to others. This means that people who work with or care for young children are at increased risk of infection.

If a pregnant woman is infected with CMV, there is a risk that her unborn baby will also become infected. This is called congenital CMV (cCMV).

Most babies born with congenital CMV will remain well, but some will go on to experience life-long disability.

Congenital CMV is the leading infectious cause of disabilities in newborns, including progressive sensorineural hearing loss, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

Most pregnant women are not aware that simple hygiene strategies like avoiding contact with the saliva and urine of young children can substantially reduce their risk of infection in pregnancy.

Pam’s son Christopher was born with CMV resulting in long-term disability including cerebral palsy, hearing loss and epilepsy.

“While we wouldn’t change our boy for anything, we want people to be aware of CMV. More importantly, reducing the risk to mums-to-be and unborn babies is as easy as communicating a simple message – wash your hands, don’t share utensils, food or drink with toddlers and avoid contact with bodily fluids such as mucus and dribble. If this simple message can prevent future families from having the heartbreaking conversations my husband and I have been forced to endure, then let’s spread the word.”

In CMV Awareness Month, this June, Deafness Forum Australia is proud to be partnering with Cerebral Palsy Alliance and leading health, disability and government organisations to promote awareness of CMV and the simple strategies women can take to reduce their risk of infection in pregnancy.

Help raise awareness this June for CMV Awareness Month