Congenital CMV Infection Trends and Statistics
- Between 30% and 50% of women of childbearing age in the United States have never been infected with CMV.
- In the United States, about 1%-4% of (1-4 of every 100) uninfected women have a primary (or first) CMV infection during a pregnancy
- About 33% of (33 of every 100) women who become infected with CMV for the first time during pregnancy pass the virus to their fetuses.
- CMV is the most common viral infection that infants are born with in the United States.
- About 1 in 150 children is born with congenital (meaning present at birth) CMV infection. This means that in the United States, about 30,000 children are born with congenital CMV infection each year.
- About 1 in 750 children in the United States is born with or develops permanent problems due to congenital CMV infection. In the United States, more than 5,000 children each year suffer permanent problems caused by CMV infection.
- About 80% of (80 of every 100) babies born with congenital CMV infection never have symptoms or problems.
The Impact of Congenital CMV Infection
Congenital CMV infection causes more long-term problems and childhood deaths than Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and neural tube defects. The graph below estimates the number of children in the United States who develop long-term sequelae (problems) from each of these conditions.
Estimated annual number of United States children with long-term sequelae caused by various disease conditions. Congenital CMV data are from a literature review, with varying collection periods spanning multiple years. Down syndrome data are from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, 1999-2001. Fetal alcohol syndrome data are from a literature review of studies from the 1980s and 1990s. Spina bifida/anencephaly data are from 23 population based surveillance systems from 1999-2000. Pediatric HIV/AIDS data are from the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2001. Haemophilus influenza b data are from the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance Report, 2002. Assumes 4 million live births per year and 20 million children less than 5 years of age. Where applicable, numbers represent means of published estimates. All estimates should be considered useful for rough comparisons only since surveillance methodology, time periods, and diagnostic accuracy varied by study.
How Many Babies Are Affected by Congenital CMV Infection?
For every 1000 pregnancies that result in a live birth, about 1 to 2 babies will have permanent CMV-related problems.
As shown in the chart above, for every 1,000 women whose pregnancies result in a live birth, about 400 will not have had a CMV infection before becoming pregnant. Of these 400 women, about 7 will become infected during pregnancy. Of these 7 infected women, about 2 will have babies with CMV infection. Of the 600 women who had CMV infection before pregnancy, about 2 will have babies with CMV infection. Overall, out of 1,000 live births, about 8 infants (less than 1%) will have congenital CMV infection, of which 1-2 (0.1%) will have permanent problems.
There appears to be little risk of CMV-related complications in babies whose mothers became infected 6 months or more before getting pregnant. This group, which includes 50% to 80% of the women of child-bearing age, has a 1% chance of passing CMV infection to their babies. The infection is less likely to result in significant illness or abnormalities in infants born to women who were infected with CMV before becoming pregnant compared to babies born to women who become infected for the first time during pregnancy.
Chart from Cannon MJ. Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) epidemiology and awareness. J Clin Virol. 2009;46 [Suppl 4]:S6-10.
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