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Treatment

There is no recommended treatment for congenital CMV in pregnancy. But treating the mother in pregnancy with antiviral therapy may benefit the unborn baby. If you are diagnosed with CMV in pregnancy, the doctors in the hospital will consider this.

In most cases, the virus will not cause any problems for your baby.

Types of treatment for newborn babies

Treatment for congenital CMV in newborn babies will depend on if your baby has:

  • obvious symptoms (symptomatic congenital CMV) and how severe those symptoms are
  • no obvious symptoms (asymptomatic congenital CMV)

Treatment for newborn babies with obvious symptoms

Your baby may show signs that CMV has affected their central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). If so, they will be treated with antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs are used to treat viral infections.

Signs that CMV has affected your baby’s central nervous system include:

  • Small head (microcephaly).
  • Seizures.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Eye problems.

Your baby may also need antiviral drugs if they have problems with other organs. For example, their liver or lungs.

Treatment for newborn babies with mild symptoms or no obvious symptoms

Treatment is not offered to babies born with:

  • mild symptoms that are not in the central nervous system
  • no obvious symptoms.

Hearing loss

Congenital CMV is the most common non-genetic cause of deafness or permanent hearing loss in children. These can be diagnosed by audiology tests. All newborn babies have a routine newborn hearing screening test. Your baby will get follow up appointments if they need it.

Page last reviewed: 12 February 2024
Next review due: 12 February 2027

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.