The cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of the herpes virus family. It is another teratogen that can cause extensive fetal damage while the woman only manifests few symptoms. This virus can cause both congenital and acquired infections referred to as cytomegalic inclusion disease. It is transmitted from person to person by droplet infection. If the woman acquires the infection during pregnancy, the virus has the ability to cross the placenta to the fetus or through the cervical route during delivery. The virus can be found in urine, saliva, cervical mucus, semen and breast milk.
Infants with mothers infected to cytomegalovirus during pregnancy may be born with the following conditions:
- Severely neurologically challenged – hydrocephalus, microcephaly, spasticity
- Eye damage – optic atrophy, chorioretinitis
- Chronic Liver disease
- Skin covered with large petechiae – blueberry-muffin lesions
Nursing Diagnosis for Cytomegalovirus
Women infected with CMV may not be aware of the disease as they manifest no clinical signs and symptoms. However diagnosis can be established by the isolation of CMV antibodies in the blood serum.
Nursing Management for Cytomegalovirus
- No treatment for the infection exists even if it presents in the mother with enough symptoms to allow detection.
- Prevention is the key of not contracting the infection. Exposure to CMV can be prevented by thorough hand washing before eating and avoiding crowds of young children at daycare or nursery settings.
The principal tissues and organs affected with CMV are the blood, brain and the liver. The following are the possible complications of this infectious disease:
- Hemolysis leads to anemia and hyperbilirubinemia
- Thrombocytopenia with subsequent petechiae and ecchymosis
- Encephalitis lethargy or hyperactivity and convulsions
- Cerebral palsy