Sometimes in the never-ending COVID pandemic it is easy to forget that other viruses cause problems. One that causes problems in infants and children is cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is a common virus. Once a person has CMV they have it for life. CMV is related to the viruses that cause chickenpox, herpes simplex and mononucleosis.

CMV is a virus that infects most humans at some stage in their lives. Most people don’t know they have CMV because it rarely causes problems in healthy people. Initial or primary infections have a period of active viral growth which usually has no symptoms. During this period of rapid growth the virus is secreted in saliva, breast milk, urine, genital secretions and blood. In adults this secretion can be constant or intermittent and may last for weeks but in young children it may last for months or years.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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