Careful hygiene is the best prevention against CMV. Health care workers have the greatest opportunity for exposure, but because of precautions used in the health care setting, their risk of acquiring the disease is very low.
You can take these precautions to help prevent CMV infection:
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds, especially if you have contact with young children or their diapers, drool or other oral secretions. This is especially important if the children attend child care.
- Avoid contact with tears and saliva when you kiss a child. Instead of kissing a child on the lips, for instance, give a kiss on the forehead. This is especially important if you're pregnant.
- Avoid sharing food or drinking out of the same glass as others. Sharing glasses and kitchen utensils can spread the CMV virus.
- Be careful with disposable items. When disposing of diapers, tissues and other items that have been contaminated with bodily fluids, be careful not to touch your hands to your face until after thoroughly washing your hands.
- Practice safe sex. Wear a condom during sexual contact to prevent spreading the CMV virus through semen and vaginal fluids.
Experimental vaccines are being tested for women of childbearing age. These vaccines may be useful in preventing CMV infection in mothers and infants, and reducing the chance that babies born to women who are infected while pregnant will develop disabilities. If you have a compromised immune system, you may benefit from taking antiviral medication to prevent CMV disease.
Apr. 30, 2011
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/overview.html. Accessed March 10, 2011.
- Demmler GJ, et al. Cytomegalovirus infection and disease in newborns, infants, children and adolescents. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 3, 2011.
- Neurological consequences of cytomegalovirus infection information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cytomegalic/cytomegalic.htm. Accessed March 10, 2011.
- Friel TJ. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations and treatment of cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompetent hosts. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 3, 2011.
- Dropulic LK, et al. Update on new antivirals under development for the treatment of double-stranded DNA virus infections. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2010;88:610.
- Hirsch MS. Cytomegalovirus and human herpesvirus types 6, 7, and 8. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Online. 17th ed. 2010. New York, N.Y.: McGraw Hill Companies. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2869361. Accessed March 10, 20111.