Create: 07/01/2017 - 11:37
4-month-old Matthew received his hearing aids at University of Colorado Hospital and responded to sounds for the first time. Matthew was born with congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is similar to the Zika virus and is the leading viral cause of non-hereditary deafness, birth defects, and developmental disabilities.
Matthew has suffered greatly from congenital CMV. Weighing only 2 lbs., 11 oz., he was born 8 weeks early and spent 47 days in the NICU. Matthew has an enlarged liver (hepatitis) and an enlarged spleen, as well as cysts and calcification on his brain. Additionally, he is deaf. In the future, he will most likely receive a cochlear implant.
While 80% of adults in the US have contracted CMV by age 40, it is particularly devastating to a fetus when the mom contracts the virus during pregnancy. As an aside, once the virus infects someone after birth, a healthy and mature immune system will keep the virus in check and most people will never have any symptoms.
There are many ways the virus can be transmitted, such as through saliva or contact with a child's urine. Therefore, if you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, please consider getting tested for CMV.