The Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) have released official recommendations for the prevention of a potentially lethal infection.
The new advice is that pregnant women should be warned about the cytomegalovirus (CMV) and taught how to protect their babies from its potentially devastating effects.
SMH reports the herpes-like virus is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva, tears, urine and breast milk is typically harmless in healthy people, with 85 per cent of the population contracting CMV at some point in their lifetime.
But congenital CMV can be debilitating and life-threatening for unborn babies. The virus is the most common cause of congenital infection. Almost 2000 babies in Australia are born with congenital CMV every year.
Women with young children at increased risk
Pregnant women with young children are at increased risk of CMV, with toddlers and preschoolers prone to catching and transmitting the virus to their mothers via intimate contact such as kissing on the lips, and sharing food, dummies, and utensils.
On Saturday RANZCOG published its new recommendations advising that “all pregnant women trying to conceive should be given information about CMV prevention as part of routine antenatal or pre-pregnancy care”.
How to avoid the infection
Pregnant women can reduce the risk of CMV by avoiding: sharing food, drinks or utensils with children under three years old; putting a child’s dummy in their mouth; and contact with saliva when kissing a child (kissing on the lips).
RANZCOG also advised women to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water especially after changing nappies, feeding young children or wiping their noses, and to clean toys, counter-tops and other surfaces.
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