What is CMV and why was Carol so afraid of exposing her baby to it?

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On the episode when Carol assists with the AIDS patient who had the boating accident, Carol bolts when she finds out that the patient has CMV. What is it, and why is it so dangerous for a pregnant woman to be exposed to it?

-- Chessie King (chessieking@hotmail.com), March 28, 2000


I'm not sure what it is, but from what I gather it can be transmitted to a fetus during the first trimester, or at least is dangerous at that time. I'm guessing it can infect the fetus with the disease or cause birth defects, or something of that nature?

-- Leigh (WillnGraceNYC@yahoo.com), March 28, 2000.

I looked it up in one of my pregnancy books. CMV is Cytomegalovirus (I gather that it is a type of pneumonia and it can cause mono). It said any risk to a fetus is very small.

-- amanda (amanda.rehm@home.com), March 29, 2000.

I don't know what pregnancy book you were looking at, but CMV is a virus related to Herpes that causes mono-like symptoms in adults. However, it can be catastrophic if contracted in by the fetus. In a worse-case senario it can cause serious neurological damage and death. There is speculation that CMV infection may be the single largest cause of retardation.

-- Chava (ChavaW68@aol.com), March 29, 2000.

Well, that's nice to know that the pregnancy book given to me by my OB's office was so non-chalant about this. Luckily, I don't have a high risk of being exposed to things like this! Thanks!

-- amanda (amanda.rehm@home.com), March 29, 2000.

Hi, Sorry its me again...I just did some checking on the web. A pregnant woman with a FIRST TIME CMV infection can pass it along to her unborn baby. In about 5-25% of cases, neurological or developmental problems can occur. I would think in Carol's instance, being a nurse, she would have been exposed to this long before and probably had nothing to worry about it.

-- amanda (amanda.rehm@home.com), March 29, 2000.

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