Today, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged obstetricians and gynecologists to tell all their pregnant patients about steps they can take to avoid contracting cytomegalovirus, a virus that causes birth defects in 5,000 to 8,000 American babies born each year.

A Reuters article cites contact with the saliva or urine of young children as a leading cause of the infection, which passes from the pregnant woman to her fetus. It said:

The CDC said such infection occurs in about 1 in 150 babies born in the United States, some of whom develop hearing or vision loss, mental disability or other problems. It is the leading infectious cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States, according to the CDC.

To see what the CDC recommends to prevent pregnant women from becoming infected,


The CDC recommends that pregnant women wash hands often with soap and water, especially after contact with saliva or diapers from young children, to not kiss children under age 6 on the mouth or cheek to avoid saliva, and to not share food, drinks or utensils with young children.