Pregnant woman sitting and touching her stomach

Signs & Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms of CMV Infection

Most children and adults who contract CMV will not experience any symptoms and may not even know that they have been infected. Others may develop a mild illness, or may have any of the following symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Fatigue
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Night sweats
  • Prolonged fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Since these are also symptoms of other illnesses, most people do not realize that they have been infected with CMV.  If you have experienced any symptoms during your pregnancy similar to a seasonal illness, ask your doctor to test you for CMV infection. 
If you believe that you have contracted CMV during pregnancy, regular ultrasounds and/or amniocenteses are the preferred methods to determine if CMV has been passed to the baby in utero.

Prenatal Congenital CMV Signs

  • Placental thickening
  • Organomegaly – abnormal enlargement of organs
  • Hepatomegaly – abnormal enlargement of the liver
  • Splenomegaly – abnormal enlargement of the spleen
  • Pyelectasis – dilation of the renal pelvis, the funnel-like dilated proximal part of the ureter (muscular tubes that propel urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder) in the kidney (also a marker for Down Syndrome)
  • Megaloureter – abnormal dilation of the ureter
  • Ascites - gastroenterological term for an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity (is a potential space between the parietal peritoneum and visceral peritoneum; that is, the two membranes that separate the organs in the abdominal cavity from the abdominal wall)
  • Fetal hydrops - accumulation of fluid in the fetal compartments
  • Abnormality of amniotic fluid
  • Microcephaly – small head circumference, more than two standard deviations smaller than average
  • Cerebral ventriculomegaly – dilation of the lateral ventricles of the brain
  • Intracranial calcifications – the build-up of calcium salts in the soft tissue of the brain
  • Hyperdense image in thalamic arteries
  • Periventricular echodensities
  • Hepatic echodensities
  • Intestinal echodensities
  • Cystic structures in the germinal zone

A newborn presenting with any of the following signs or symptoms may have congenital CMV.

Neonatal Congenital CMV Signs

  • Thrombocytopenia – low blood platelet levels
  • Petechiae (purpura) – red or purple spots on the body caused by broken blood vessels
  • Jaundice – yellow skin and eyes caused by increased bilirubin levels in the blood
  • Microcephaly – small head size
  • Small size at birth
    • Small for gestational age (SGA)
    • Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Premature birth of unknown etiology
  • Liver problems, including Jaundice of unknown etiology
  • Spleen problems
  • Lung problems
  • Bleeding problems
  • Growth problems
  • Seizures
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Mental disability
(Note: If a newborn does NOT show any of the above signs at birth, it does not mean that he or she cannot be diagnosed with congenital CMV).

If your newborn has any of these symptoms and you believe that they may have been born with congenital CMV, ask your pediatrician to test your child for CMV infection.

The doctors knew Cameron's problem was viral, but they couldn't pinpoint the virus. Finally, after about 2 days, my placenta lab test came back and it was infected with CMV. I was so relieved that Cameron was going to survive, but I was not ready for the next bombshell. The NICU doctor told us that as a result of is brain damage, Cameron would not be able to “walk, talk or learn."
— Julie, Mother