Treatment for Babies and Children
Treatment for babies and children affected by congenital CMV will depend on many factors, including whether they have symptoms at birth, how serious these symptoms are, whether there is hearing loss, if there are changes on the scans of the brain (ultrasound or MRI), and when diagnosis is made. Treatment is not recommended for every baby as there is no evidence that it is helpful in all babies.
Antiviral drugs, such as ganciclovir and valganciclovir, can be used to treat babies and should be started within the first month of their life. Ganciclovir is given intravenously (into a vein via a ‘drip’) and would be the drug used for babies who are not able to take all their feeds by mouth, for example in premature babies. Valganciclovir is given by mouth and would be used for babies who are feeding normally.
The main benefit is to preserve hearing and prevent progression of hearing loss associated with congenital CMV. Also, there may be modest benefits in reducing the impact of congenital CMV infection on the neurodevelopment of the child, in particular improving communication skills. Emerging evidence shows that even when babies have less severe symptoms, treatment can be of benefit. You should discuss all treatment options with your baby’s doctor including any risks associated with anti-viral treatment.
Depending on the treatment given and the severity of their symptoms, your baby may need to stay in hospital for the first part of their treatment. They will be closely monitored for any side effects and risks. The length of treatment will be discussed with you; however, it is normally given for a total of six months.