Cytomegalovirus | Causes & Risk Factors


How is CMV spread?

CMV gets into body fluids, such as saliva, blood, urine, semen and breast milk. A person is able to transmit (or "shed") the virus to others only when it is active in his or her system (not dormant). It can be spread from one person to another through sexual contact and contact with blood and other body fluids. CMV can rarely be transmitted by blood transfusion or organ transplantation.

In child care centers, as many as 70% of children 1 to 3 years of age can shed the virus. Careful, frequent hand washing with soap and water may help prevent the spread of CMV.


Cytomegalovirus by GH Taylor, M.D. (American Family Physician February 01, 2003,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 07/13
Created: 04/03