Health

How a common, often harmless virus called cytomegalovirus can damage a fetus

Like all herpes viruses, including those responsible for genital herpes and chickenpox (and later shingles), infection with CMV is chronic. The virus remains in the body, although it can become dormant, and then less likely to be passed along during pregnancy. During an active primary infection, however, if transmitted in utero to a developing fetus, it can cause premature birth, hearing loss, vision problems, low birth weight, developmental delays and brain abnormalities, among other things.


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