Although clinical trials of CMV vaccines are currently underway, there is no licensed vaccine against CMV at this time. Without a vaccine against CMV, reducing the risks of transmission is the most important thing that we can all do.

Without a vaccine, reducing the risks of transmission is the most important thing that we can all do.  This section explains the simple hygiene precautions that you can take to prevent infection spreading.

How can I reduce the risk of infection whilst I’m pregnant?

There are ways you can reduce the risk of infection whilst you are pregnant. Although it may be hard to do  all of these things all the time, doing our best whilst you are pregnant will reduce the risk of catching CMV.  This will be for a relatively short period of time.

Avoid sharing cutlery and cups

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, or put your child’s dummy in your mouth.

Wash any items which may have been in contact with a child’s saliva or urine.

Wash hands

Wash your hands after contact with a child’s urine or saliva. For example, try to make a habit of cleaning your hands after changing a nappy, feeding a child or wiping a child’s nose or mouth.

Wash your hands well for 20 seconds with soap and water. If you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitiser.

Avoid Kissing on the Mouth

Avoid getting saliva in your mouth when kissing a child. You can do this by trying to give more kisses on the head, together with a big hug.

Does hand sanitiser reduce risks?

If you don’t have access to soap and water, then alcohol based hand sanitiser is a good alternative. While it won’t completely remove the CMV virus, it will render it non-viable. Wet-wipes are not effective at removing or de-activating CMV.

I am a nursery worker and am pregnant. Am I at risk?

People who work in nurseries appear to be at greater risk than health professionals who work with small children in hospital and healthcare settings. This may be partly due to the increased focus on infection control in healthcare settings.

You can reduce your risk by following simple hygiene precautions that are common in hospitals and should already be part of good practice in nurseries:

  • Use disposable gloves to change nappies or help children go to the toilet.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, especially after changing nappies or coming into contact with bodily fluids.
  • Wash toys regularly, especially after they have come into contact with bodily fluids.
  • Avoid sharing cutlery, drinks or food with children. Do not put dummies into your mouth.
  • Avoid kissing babies, toddlers and small children directly on the mouth. Kiss them on the head instead or give them a big hug.

There is no need to stay away from work or move to another setting. Everyday contact with children poses no risk. Following the guidelines above should reduce your exposure to their bodily fluids and reduce your risk of catching CMV.

Reducing the risks of CMV infection during IVF

The UK professional body guidelines recommend that sperm, egg and embryo donors should be screened for CMV antibodies. This will show if they have been infected with CMV before or currently have an active infection. People found to have an active infection are recommended to defer donation.  Advice from your fertility clinic should always be sought.

The risk of transmission of CMV through egg or embryo donation is negligible, therefore fertility centres may consider the use of eggs or embryos from CMV-positive donors (that is those individuals who have had CMV before) for women who are CMV-negative.

CMV can be found in semen, therefore it is generally recommended that CMV-negative women (those individuals who have never had CMV before) are matched with donor sperm samples from CMV-negative donors.  In general, women who are CMV-positive may received donor sperm from men who have had CMV before.

As the evidence is not clear cut, and practice can vary, the recommendation about whether to use a CMV positive donor should be a matter of clinical and personal judgement and should be discussed with staff at your fertility clinic.

Whether donor samples are received from CMV-positive or CMV-negative individuals, CMV can still be caught during pregnancy and therefore all pregnant women are advised to follow risk reduction measures.