Photo: Thinkstock

Photo: Thinkstock

It is common for a woman, so that descubre you are pregnant, go to worry about the health of your baby. After all, wants to ensure that pregnancy occurs in the best possible way, without complications, and the child is born completely healthy.

Many women end up hearing about, first, the cytomegalovirus only at this stage of life, so it is common to arise concerns the type: what exactly is cytomegalovirus? What risks it offers in pregnancy? Is there a treatment? Below you know the answers to this and other questions on the subject.

What is cytomegalovirus?

Claudio Roberto Gonsalez, infectious disease specialist, responsible for the Infection Control Services Related to Health Care (SCIRAS) of Villa Lobos Hospital, explains that the cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that belongs to the herpes family, very common among the human population general. "About 65-85 percent of people have already been infected by it," he said.

Similar to herpes viruses, CMV can also be long dormant in the body without causing serious problems. But if the infection occurs during pregnancy, there is likely to cause complications for the baby.

Symptoms of cytomegalovirus

Claudio Gonsalez the highlights that most people infected shows no symptoms. "The only way to know if they had the infection is through specific tests to detect it," he says.

But, in general, among the main symptoms are, according to Gonsalez infectious disease:

  • Fever;
  • Nodal (enlarged lymph nodes, also called lumps);
  • Asthenia (fatigue);
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Increased spleen and liver.

"CMV can remain latent (dormant) in the body after the initial infection. In situations where the immune system is weakened, the virus can reactivate, causing the so-called recurring infection, "the infectious disease Gonsalez.

As cytomegalovirus is transmitted?

Claudio Gonsalez explains that CMV is transmitted by direct contact. Among the vehicles of transmission are:

  • Saliva;
  • Urine;
  • stools;
  • Semen;
  • Blood;
  • Tears;
  • vaginal secretion;
  • breast milk of an infected person.

"Transmission can occur in several situations, including through the use of glasses and cutlery of infected people, a kiss or even a sexual relationship," the infectious disease Gonsalez.

Risk of cytomegalovirus during pregnancy

Photo: Thinkstock

Photo: Thinkstock

"My examination gave I have CMV. So I'll pass the virus to the baby? ", This is a common concern among pregnant women when it comes to cytomegalovirus during pregnancy.

However, the most appropriate answer is: it depends. A significant proportion of women already have antibodies to cytomegalovirus before pregnancy - a result of them having been infected. And asthe most people infected shows no symptoms, it is very common that the woman did not know (except for the blood test) if you have had contact with the virus.

Remember, the CMV can remain dormant in the body after the initial infection. And in situations where the immune system is weakened, the virus can reactivate, causing the so-called recurrent infection. But fortunately, the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby in a recurrent infection is low (about 1 percent), and the risk of serious complications is even lower.

Claudio Gonsalez explains that, during pregnancy, transmission can occur through the placenta or through the birth canal secretions. Another possibility is contamination of baby through breastfeeding. "In these conditions of transmission is very rare that infants have severe symptoms or sequelae," says infectious disease.

The greatest risk occurs in the case of premature babies, according to infectious disease Gonsalez.

"So in most cases, it is recommended that mothers have normal birth and breastfeed their babies, even if they are carriers of CMV," said Claudio Gonsalez.

Professional adds that about 1 percent of newborns born with the infection. "The vast majority of babies with CMV shows no symptoms at birth and, in most cases, the infection is harmless," he says.

Some babies, however, are born with several problems due to CMV and may have consequences. "In other cases, apparently there is no complication in the beginning, but months or years later, a sequel arises, such as hearing loss," adds the infectious disease.

But Gonsalez points out that if the infection occurs during pregnancy, the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby is much higher. "About 1 and 4 percent of women who have never had contact with the CMV present the first infection during pregnancy (called primary cytomegalovirus). When this happens, the possibility of the baby being infected is around 30-50 percent. And there is a significant risk that the child has serious health problems, "he explains.

Treatment of cytomegalovirus during pregnancy

Claudio Gonsalez explains that there is no specific treatment for CMV. "Only the use of so-called symptomatic drugs to reduce symptoms without interfering with the progress of the disease and transmission to the baby," she said.

8 tips to avoid transmission of cytomegalovirus

Photo: Thinkstock

Photo: Thinkstock

As the transmission of cytomegalovirus occurs in different ways - from simple contact with an infected vessel up in a kiss or during intercourse - there is no simple method to avoid contagion.

But some basic care can help, conforms highlights Gonsalez infectious disease:

  1. Wash your hands frequently.
  2. Wash your hands every time you change diapers or have contact with the saliva of children: scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds.
  3. If you work directly with children, be even more careful: you must to perfect hygiene, so wash your hands thoroughly when changing diapers or blowing noses. The infection is most often between 1 and 2 and a half years.
  4. Whenever playing with a small child, wash your hands before.
  5. Do not use the same cutlery and glasses of small children.
  6. Always wash cutlery and glasses before using them (regardless of who used them before).
  7. Use a condom when you have sex, especially if you are not in a relationship.
  8. Avoid oral sex, especially if you're not in a relationship.

Remember that, to prevent cytomegalovirus or any other problem in pregnancy, a crucial measure is to always be in touch with your gynecologist / obstetrician and follow all the guidelines passed by him.