Go Silver for CMV - Launching the worldwide CMV silver ribbon awareness campaign

The Silver Ribbon Campaign

UK Press Release - For immediate release

CMV, or cytomegalovirus (si-to-MEG-alo-vi-rus) is the most common infection passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child in the world.  2 or 3 babies are damaged by the CMV virus every day in the UK – nearly 1000 babies every year. 

Following a September 2014 summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, organisations from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain and France have come together to create a worldwide CMV Non-Profit Collaboration Group, dedicated to raising awareness about CMV and prevent disabilities.  This united worldwide group are encouraging all women, especially those pregnant to learn about CMV through the silver ribbon awareness campaign.

CMV is common.  CMV is a common virus which up to 80% of people in the UK will catch, yet few have heard of. CMV was discovered in the 50s by the same team of doctors that discovered polio, measles, mumps and chicken pox - yet CMV still remains almost unheard of and without any safe or effective vaccination or treatment. Symptoms can be mistaken for a cold, and healthy adults will often not even realise they’ve contracted it.

However, if a pregnant woman catches CMV, it can be passed to her unborn baby with disastrous results.  CMV causes more birth defects and childhood deaths than Down’s Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Toxoplasmosis (the cat poo one) or Listeria (the blue cheese one).

CMV is serious. CMV causes birth defects and developmental disabilities, including hearing loss, vision loss, mental disability, feeding issues, sleeping issues, sensory issues, behaviour issues, cerebral palsy, and seizures. CMV also causes miscarriage, stillbirth, and death. 

Despite ALL THIS, very few pregnant women know about it and they are not routinely warned or educated about CMV.  This must change.

CMV can be prevented. More needs to be done on treatment and vaccine research. 

While we wait, pregnant women can help protect their unborn babies and reduce the risk of a CMV infection.  Pregnant women can reduce the risk of disabilities in their children by avoiding contact with saliva and urine of young children.


Pregnant women who interact with infants and young children need to learn about CMV. CMV is very common in home and childcare settings and can be passed around in bodily fluids, including urine, saliva, blood, mucus, and tears. Healthy children between 1 to 3 years of age are at high risk for contracting CMV from their peers.

During pregnancy, you can reduce exposure to CMV: 

  • Avoid getting saliva in your mouth when kissing a child.  You can do this by trying to give more kisses on the cheek or forehead instead of the lips or give them a big hug
  • Avoid putting things in your mouth that have just been in a child’s mouth.  When possible, try not to share food, cups, or cutlery with your child or put their dummy in your mouth.
  • Wash your hands after wiping a child’s nose or mouth and changing nappies.

CMV is common. CMV is serious. CMV can be prevented. Worldwide CMV organisations encourage all women to learn about CMV and share this information with their family and friends. Please share the silver awareness ribbon and help stop preventable disabilities in children. Learn more about CMV at www.cmvawareness.org.

Brought to you by the worldwide CMV Non-Profit Collaboration Group:

  • AntiCito Onlus (Italy)
  • Chanter Marcher Vivre (France)
  • Congenital CMV Association (Australia)
  • CMV Action (United Kingdom)
  • CMV Help/Buck Buck Foundation (United States)
  • Guiding Guardians CMV Family Advocacy Foundation (United States)
  • Maddie's Mission (United States)
  • Stop Citomegalovirus (Spain)
  • Stop CMV - The CMV Action Network (United States)
  • Utah CMV Council (United States) 

Kat Foster

+ 44 7747 076 140

Head of Awareness  - CMV Action




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