Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Public Health Initiative

Office of Children With Special Health Care Needs

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Public Health Initiative

The CMV program educates pregnant people of childbearing age and community stakeholders on the risks of CMV during pregnancy and facilitates CMV testing on eligible infants to allow for early detection and intervention in an effort to reduce the effects of congenital infection.

H.B. 81 (2013 General Session) UCA 26-10-10, now 26B-7-105, whose Chief Sponsor was Representative Ronda Rudd Menlove, went into effect on July 1, 2013. This law (Cytomegalovirus Public Education and Testing) directed the Utah Department of Health to create a public education program to inform pregnant people, and people who may become pregnant, about the occurrence of CMV, the transmission of CMV, the birth defects that CMV can cause, methods of diagnosis, and available preventative measures. This law also directed medical practitioners to test infants who fail newborn hearing screening for congenital CMV and inform the parents about the possible birth defects that CMV can cause.

As per UCA 26B-7-105, this program is now run by the merged Department of Health and Human Services. The code is accompanied by rule R398-4.

CMV testing should be completed before 21 days of age on infants who fail both their initial and repeat newborn hearing screenings (NBHS) or fail their first NBHS at age 14 days or older. Many birthing hospitals in Utah also follow best practice and complete CMV testing on infants with risk factors.

About CMV

CMV infection during pregnancy can harm your baby.

Cytomegalovirus (sy toe MEG a low vy rus), or CMV, is a common virus that infects people of all ages. Most CMV infections are "silent", meaning the majority of people who are infected with CMV have no signs or symptoms, and there are no harmful effects. However, when CMV occurs during a person’s pregnancy, the baby can become infected before birth.  CMV infection before birth is known as “congenital CMV”. When this happens, the virus gets transmitted to the unborn infant and can potentially damage the brain, eyes, and/or inner ears.

Every year, more than 40,000 people in the U.S. experience CMV infection during pregnancy.

  • 1 in 200 babies is born with congenital CMV in America
  • 1 in every 5 children born with CMV will suffer lifelong disabilities

Permanent health problems or disabilities due to congenital CMV include:

  • Hearing Loss
  • Vision Loss
  • Developmental Disability
  • Brain Damage
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Small head size
  • Lack of coordination
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Seizures


Testing for the presence of congenital CMV infection (acquired in utero) in an infant is different than testing for CMV in an adult.

Congenital CMV testing for an infant is simple and painless. It is accomplished using either a urine or saliva sample. The inside of your baby's cheek is swabbed when a saliva sample is taken. It is very important that this swabbing be done at least 120 minutes after feeding as CMV could be present in breastmilk. If a saliva test comes out positive, a repeat test on urine should be conducted as soon as possible.

This testing is time-sensitive and the urine or saliva sample must be taken before your baby is 21 days old to be accurate for the detection of congenital CMV infection. The sample may be taken at your medical providers' office or directly at a lab. Please contact your baby's doctor as soon as you are told you need this testing to be done.

Will insurance cover the cost of the CMV PCR testing?
Many insurance companies, including Medicaid, report that this testing is covered. The CPT code for qualitative CMV detection by PCR (via urine or saliva) is 87496, which is considered to be the most sensitive for congenital CMV testing. CPT code 87497 represents quantitative CMV detection by PCR (via urine or saliva) and may be used by Eurofins Viracor Laboratories.

General FAQs

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Contact us


Utah Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Children with Special Health Care Needs
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Public Health Initiative
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116


Monday thru Friday - 8 am to 5 pm
phone number (801) 273-6600