CMV is short for cytomegalovirus, a virus from the herpes – viruses class and it is the most common cause of infection during pregnancy in Israel and worldwide.

About 80% of the population in Israel has contracted the virus in childhood,[1] and for the most part, the infection is not accompanied by symptoms, or accompanied by mild symptoms of a cold, sore throat and fever.

The CMV virus does not pose a risk for the majority of the population, and in fact it may be safe to say that it is medically relevant to two major sections of the population:

  1. Immunosuppressed individuals – for example, those who have immune deficiency, oncology patients or those who have transplanted organs.
  2. Fetuses during the pregnancy of a woman who contracted the virus close to the time of the pregnancy or during the pregnancy.

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CMV is short for cytomegalovirus, a virus from the herpes – viruses class and it is the most common cause of infection during pregnancy in Israel and worldwide.

About 80% of the population in Israel has contracted the virus in childhood,[1] and for the most part, the infection is not accompanied by symptoms, or accompanied by mild symptoms of a cold, sore throat and fever.

The CMV virus does not pose a risk for the majority of the population, and in fact it may be safe to say that it is medically relevant to two major sections of the population:

  1. Immunosuppressed individuals – for example, those who have immune deficiency, oncology patients or those who have transplanted organs.
  2. Fetuses during the pregnancy of a woman who contracted the virus close to the time of the pregnancy or during the pregnancy.

When a pregnant woman contracts the CMV virus, the fetus is at risk of infection because the virus passes on from the maternal circulation to the placenta and from there (potentially) to the fetus.

If this is primary gestational infection, meaning that the pregnant woman has contracted the virus during the pregnancy for the first time in her life, the risk for fetal harm is higher than in non-primary infection.

You can read in more detail about the difference between primary infection and non-primary infection in the  Q&A tab.

In the past, many doctors tended to recommend the termination of pregnancies in the event of maternal primary CMV infection during pregnancy, however, the current medical conception, based on many comprehensive studies conducted in Israel and around the world, is that in most cases there is room to continue the pregnancy, while conducting close follow-up and monitoring of the pregnancy by an infectious diseases specialist, CMV clinics or a gynecologist specializing in the subject.

Studies show that in most cases of infection with the virus the fetus will not be infected at all, and that even in the case of fetal infection – most fetuses infected with the CMV virus during pregnancy, will be born completely healthy.

Moreover, studies have found that usually, it is possible to see serious effects of the virus in targeted ultrasound scans and allow the parents to make the decision that is right for them. You can read in more detail about the targeted ultrasound scans in the tab follow-up on pregnant women with CMV.

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