Although congenital CMV causes more birth defects than Down syndrome, more than half of OB/GYNs surveyed admitted they don't routinely caution their patients how to avoid the virus. Women who care for young children are at a greater risk for catching CMV because preschool children are the majority of the carriers. Although it is usually harmless to healthy individuals, it can be devastating to a developing fetus.
In order to reduce the spread of CMV infection, women of childbearing age should refrain from kissing their children around the mouth, sharing food and utensils with them, and they must wash hands their hands diligently with soap and water after wiping runny noses, changing diapers, etc. The CDC states: “If soap and running water are not available, you may use alcohol-based hand gel.” For alcohol-based hand sanitizers to be effective, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a concentration of 60% to 95% ethanol or isopropanol.
One OB/GYN was quoted in FitPregnancy magazine (June/July '08) as saying, "The list of things we're supposed to talk about during women's first visit could easily take two hours and scare them to death.” Others simply don’t realize the prevalence of congenital CMV.