Editor's note: Have you ever heard of Cytomegalovirus (CMV)? It is a very common virus but very few people know about it. It can affect both adults and newborns. Here is what you need to know about CMV.
Did you know that you could contract or transmit a dangerous virus through kissing? And yes even that affectionate kiss to your baby in the mouth or on the cheeks could make you get or pass on Cytomegalovirus (CMV).
According to Mayo Clinic, CMV is a common virus that can infect almost anyone. It is part of the herpes family of viruses and rarely shows symptoms.
The lack of symptoms does not mean that the virus is not dangerous. If you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system, CMV is cause for concern, the clinic's staff said.
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In Africa, very few people (including health professionals) know about CMV and its effects.
Joyce Waceke, a mother of twins who got the virus, told WTV's Diana Mbugua that her sons were diagnosed with CMV one year after birth largely due to lack of information.
Waceke said she had to see another pediatrician who only put them on supplements. It is the third pediatrician who recommended that they be tested for CMV.
The effect was already severe. Her sons lost their hearing due to the CMV infection and are yet to walk more than two years since birth.
According to research, as reported on WTV's “Lifestyle With Dee”, CMV can be spread through body fluids such as; saliva, urine, blood, semen, organ transplant and breast milk.
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However, Waceke noted that not all pregnant women pass CMV to their babies. Studies show that only about 30% of the women infected pass it to the infants, she said.
It is also good to note that not all children born with CMV show the symptoms, she said.
Once you have CMV, your body will retain the virus for life. If you are healthy, CMV remains dormant and does not cause any health effects.
CMV symptoms on infants, according to Mayo Clinic, include: yellow skin and eyes, purple skin splotches or a rash or both, small size at birth, enlarged spleen, enlarged functioning liver, pneumonia and seizures.
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In adults, CMV can cause: fever, pneumonia, diarrhea, ulcers, hepatitis, inflammation of the brain, behavioral changes, seizures, coma, visual impairment and blindness.
“Lifestyle with Dee” is a show that airs on WTV every Friday at 7.30 pm. WTV is on Zuku Channel 34, Go TV and Startimes Channel 37 as well as all the other free to air platforms.