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Cytomegalovirus is not a reportable disease in Oklahoma; however, the Oklahoma State Department of Health investigates outbreaks of Cytomegalovirus to control the spread of this disease.  Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that infects people of all ages.  It is a member of the herpes virus family, which includes viruses that cause herpes, chickenpox, and infectious mononucleosis.  Most healthy individuals infected with CMV show no signs or symptoms of the virus.  However, symptoms commonly appear in individuals with weakened immune systems or in unborn babies of infected mothers.

Although the virus is not highly communicable, it can be spread from person to person by direct contact.  The virus is shed in the urine, saliva, semen and to a lesser extent in other body fluids. Transmission can also occur from an infected mother to her fetus or newborn and by blood transfusion and organ transplants.

Most individuals with CMV develop no symptoms and will never know that they have been infected.  Others may develop a mild illness with symptoms including: fever, soar throat, fatigue, and swollen glands.  The most significant infected group that shows symptoms is infants (termed congenital CMV).  Infants may show both temporary and permanent symptoms.  Temporary symptoms include: liver problems, spleen problems, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), purple skin splotches, lung problems, small size at birth, and seizures.  Permanent symptoms/disabilities include: hearing loss, vision loss, mental disability, small head, lack of coordination, seizures, and sometimes death.  In some children, symptoms do not appear until months or years after birth.  The most common late-occuring symptoms are hearing and vision loss.

How to prevent cytomegalovirus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers.
  • Do not share food, drink, or utensils (spoons or forks) with young children.
  • If you are pregnant and work in a day care center, reduce your risk of getting CMV by working with children who are older than 2 and a half years of age, especially if you are CMV seronegative (have never been infected with CMV) or are unsure if you are seronegative.