A congenital infection happens when a virus is passed to a baby during pregnancy or delivery.
A congenital (present at birth) infection is caused by a virus. The infection is passed to the baby through the placenta during pregnancy, or may be in the birth canal during delivery.
When an unborn fetus or infant (birth to 1 year*) catches the virus, the effects of the virus are much more severe. These children may suffer from cognitive disorders, hearing loss, autism spectrum disorder or other complications. In extreme cases, a congenital infection may be life-threatening.
The types of viruses that may cause congenital infections include: