May 23, 2016 – More Than Zika


Anchor lead: If you’re worried about Zika virus infection, perhaps you should think of another virus, too, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Cytomegalovirus, abbreviated CMV, is a highly infectious virus that most likely far outstrips Zika virus infections during pregnancy as a cause of abnormalities in the newborn.  That’s according to Ravit Boger, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins.

Boger: In the US probably CMV is our Zika. It’s the most common congenitally acquired infection.  In general on average 1% of newborns are infected with CMV.   :12

Boger says manifestations of infection vary.

Boger: It’s a variety of presentations.  It can be from a very severe disease, hearing loss, to a cerebral palsy like picture, learning disabilities, motor dysfunction. That’s I would say the most severe part.  :18

Boger is hoping current awareness of Zika virus infection during pregnancy will bring CMV into the spotlight also, hopefully helping efforts to develop better treatments.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.