Tuesday, April 3, 2018

June Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Awareness Month. CMV #1 Birth Defects Virus in Childcare Centers. Moms Warn Pregnant Women of Increased Risk with New Book and Song

Attention: June is Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Awareness Month. CMV #1 Birth Defects Virus in Childcare Centers. Moms Warn Pregnant Women of Increased Risk with New Book and Song.

I am hoping the media will take advantage of the upcoming National Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month in June in order to warn women how to prevent the leading viral cause of birth defects.


Congenital (present at birth) cytomegalovirus (CMV) disables 4,000 newborns each year in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Women who care for toddlers are at increased risk for contracting CMV.

CMV in childcare centers is a real problem. According to the March of Dimes, “As many as 7 in 10 children (70 percent) between 1 and 3 years of age who go to day care may have CMV. They can pass it on to their families, caretakers and other children.” Mothers of children in group care  are at increased risk for CMV (Pass et al., 1986) and most childcare providers are unaware they have an occupational risk for CMV (Joseph et al., 2006). 

I was a pregnant licensed childcare provider who didn't know about CMV until after my daughter Elizabeth was born severely disabled by congenital CMV. I helped Connecticut pass a new law effective 2016 aimed at battling CMV (that story was featured in Cornell Alumni Magazine and Connecticut Magazine).

CMV in childcare is a very "inconvenient truth" and I think many in the industry are afraid to alarm their workers. However, a few states such as Utah and Idaho and countries including Germany and Queensland, Australia have worked out a protocol to protect their childcare workers.

I have recently released the book, "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV" and my friend, singer/songwriter Debra Lynn Alt of North Brandford, CT, is launching a new song, "Had I Known (about CMV)" at the Mystic and Noank Library, CT, on May 9 (details below in my following press release).

Other mothers across the country have gotten CMV laws passed in a few other states, but we need more media attention so women of childbearing age will know how to prevent contracting CMV in the first place. Lack of CMV awareness in the U.S. is due in part to low media coverage according to HealthNewsReview.org in "Why does CMV get so much less news coverage than Zika — despite causing far more birth defects?" (Shipman, 2018). This silence is a problem in regard to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Please see my following press release for more information.

Lisa Saunders
Parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation.
www.authorlisasaunders.com
PO Box 389, Mystic, CT 06355
LisaSaunders42@gmail.com


CMV: #1 BIRTH DEFECTS VIRUS IN CHILDCARE CENTERS—
MOMS WARN PREGNANT WOMEN OF INCREASED RISK

Book "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV" by Lisa Saunders of Mystic, CT

Jessica Rachels and Rebekah Hall of “Idaho CMV Advocacy Project" distribute books to childcare centers

New song, "Had I Known (about CMV)" © 2018 DebraSong Publishing of North Branford, CT

Mystic, Conn.-- Mothers of children in group care are at increased risk for cytomegalovirus (CMV) and most childcare providers are unaware they have an occupational risk for CMV. Congenital (present at birth) CMV is the leading viral cause of birth defects.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), congenital CMV disables 4,000 babies each year in the U.S. The March of Dimes states: “As many as 7 in 10 children (70 percent) between 1 and 3 years of age who go to day care may have CMV. They can pass it on to their families, caretakers and other children.”  

Lisa Saunders of Mystic, Connecticut, instrumental in the passages of the 2016 CMV law in Connecticut, just published the book, "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV," to help educate women who care for children on how to reduce their chances of contracting CMV. Saunders was a licensed childcare provider unaware of her increased risk for CMV until after her daughter Elizabeth was born severely disabled by it in 1989. "Most pregnant women know to avoid dirty kitty litter and mosquito bites to protect their unborn babies from disabilities caused by infections," says Saunders, "but very few know how to prevent CMV, which causes more disabilities than Zika or fetal alcohol syndrome." 

Jessica Rachels of Sandpoint, Idaho, was another childcare provider uninformed of her increased risk for CMV.  Jessica’s daughter, Natalie was born disabled by congenital CMV in 2006.  Rachels is including the book in her outreach efforts (see Fundraiser Sets Sights on CMV Awareness, Malone, 2018).  

The stories of childcare providers Jessica Rachels and Lisa Saunders are told in the first chapter of Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV. For those who don't have time to read the book, moms-to-be can learn about CMV just by clicking on the "Look inside" feature on Amazon and advancing to the Acknowledgements page where they will find the facts:

  • Caregivers of young children are at increased risk for CMV, the leading birth defects virus that disables 4,000 babies each year in the U.S. (CDC).
  • Mothers of children in group care are at increased risk for CMV (Pass et al., 1986).
  • 44 - 100% of two-year-olds in group daycare are excreting CMV (Pass et al., 1986).
  • 8 - 20% of childcare providers contract CMV infection every year (AAP et al., 2011) VERSUS 1-4% in general population (CDC).   
  • Diaper wipes do not kill CMV (Stowella et al., 2014 ).
  • “Women may be able to lessen their risk of getting CMV by reducing contact with saliva and urine from babies and young children. Some ways to do this are: kissing children on the cheek or head rather than the lips, and washing hands after changing diapers. These cannot eliminate your risk of getting CMV, but may lessen your chances of getting it” states the CDC. Download this flyer from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/downloads/pregnant-patients-cmv.pdfhttps://ci6.googleusercontent.com/proxy/RnNZfQn2o2xpggJQqefCOervMbPIci5mujDPJnvl43kv6Rtxjyh5gHN_JKVzeU-aaGz3pePFgxfoAAtZJZNx8mveVTc-11j98EfuAJVcumUenA=s0-d-e1-ft#https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV is dedicated to mothers who find out  too late about CMV and includes the lyrics to the new song, "Had I Known (about CMV)" © 2018 DebraSong Publishing. Debra Lynn Alt of North Branford, Connecticut, performed the song for the first time on the Lisa Saunders Show in March 2018. Alt, a former lead singer for the Rolling Stone Magazine House Band writes songs for causes and books that celebrate life—no matter where the journey leads (debralynnalt.com). Alt will launch her new song "Had I Known (about CMV)", and Saunders her new book, "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV," in Mystic, Connecticut, on May 9, 2018:

Wednesday, May 9, 3:30 p.m.
"Had I Known (about CMV)": Song and Book Launch
Mystic and Noank Library, 40 Library Street, Mystic, CT 06355
Free and open to the public.
Debra Lynn Alt, a former lead singer for the Rolling Stone Magazine House Band, will perform her new song, "Had I Known (about CMV)." The song conveys how a mother feels when she learns her newborn's disabilities might have been prevented had she known about CMV (cytomegalovirus), the leading viral cause of birth defects--a much greater threat to newborns than Zika. Lisa Saunders, author of  "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV" will introduce her  new book and discuss how she helped Connecticut become the second state to pass a law aimed at battling CMV.
Light refreshments served. More info about CMV: cdc.gov/cmv.
Visit Debra Lynn Alt at: debralynnalt.comdebrasong@gmail.com
Lisa Saunders at: authorlisasaunders.com or congenitalcmv.blogspot.com

###

About Lisa Saunders: Lisa Saunders, a former licensed childcare provider and graduate of Cornell University, was instrumental in helping Connecticut pass a CMV testing law in 2015. She is founder of the Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV Project and the parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation. She is the content coordinator for the magazine, Groton-Mystic Neighbors, author of 10 books, and a part-time history interpreter at Mystic Seaport. An SEC-TV talk show host, Lisa lives with her husband, Jim, in Mystic, Connecticut.  Lisa writes extensively about congenital CMV in her books and through articles such as "The Danger of Spreading CMV: How We Can Protect Our Children" (ChildCare Aware of America, 2017) and “Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV” (National CMV Foundation, 2018) . Visit Lisa at www.authorlisasaunders.com or congenitalcmv.blogspot.com.
Lisa's CMV-related books include:
  1. Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV 
  2. Surviving Loss: The Woodcutter’s Tale
  3. Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale 
  4. Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV
Saunders has a PowerPoint to Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV, which is based on her new book, "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV: Protect Newborns from #1 Birth Defects Virus." You can access the following elements of her PowerPoint:
a. Slides
b. Handouts
c. YouTube Presentation by Lisa Saunders

People can click here for the free 133-page pdf manuscript. To share the book with others, purchase the bound paperback for $6.13 on Amazon by clicking here.

More info about coloring book, Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale
Fun teaching toolkit for students and families: Fairytale tells how to “Share a Meal, Not the Germs.” Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale is by Lisa Saunders and Jackie Tortora. Click for here for free pdf version or purchased the bound coloring book to hand out on Amazon for $5.38). Toolkit includes:

About Singer/Songwriter Debra Lynn Alt:
Debra Lynn Alt, a former lead singer for the Rolling Stone Magazine House Band, lives in North Branford, Connecticut, and writes songs for causes and books that celebrate life—no matter where the journey leads. To hear Debra's music or read her work, visit her at debrasong.com or contact her at: debralynnalt.com.

Connecticut's CMV Resources since 2016 CMV Law:
Connecticut Department of Public Health(CT DPH) website has flyers and information: http://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Family-Health/EHDI/CMV. The National CMV Foundation allowed the CT DPH to embed their logo in their “Are You Pregnant” National CMV Awareness Flyer.

More information about Congenital CMV: 
Congenital CMV Disease Research, Clinic & Registry
Gail J Demmler-Harrison, MD, Professor, Pediatrics, Section Infectious Diseases, Baylor College of Medicine, Attending Physician, Infectious Diseases Service, Texas Children's Hospital, CMV Registry, CMV Research and CMV Clinic. The CMV Registry supports CMV research, disseminates information and provides parent support. Visit: https://www.bcm.edu/departments/pediatrics/sections-divisions-centers/cmvregistry and Dr. Demmler-Harrison’s blog at: http://www.texaschildrensblog.org/author/gdemmler/
Contact: cmv@bcm.edu. Information available in Spanish.

About the "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV" Project:
The mission of the Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV project is to educate U.S. women who care for toddlers on how to reduce the spread of CMV to protect their pregnancies until the medical community makes doing so a “standard of care,” the U.S. government passes a law requiring CMV education, or an effective vaccine becomes available. The Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV project wishes to disseminate materials to daycare directors, families, and policy makers. CMV prevention education is accomplished through workshops, public service announcements, health fairs, books, and writing articles such as, "The Danger of Spreading CMV: How We Can Protect Our Children" published by ChildCare Aware of America (2017).

About The Idaho CMV Advocacy Project:
In 2017, Jessica Rachels, along with another mother,  Rebekah Hall, formed the “Idaho CMV Advocacy Project." Together with Rachel's husband, Patrick Rachels, the group got a new law passed in Idaho requiring its Department of Health and Welfare to provide information on cytomegalovirus “to the public, particularly pregnant women and women who may become pregnant” (see CMV education bill signed by Governor Otter).  June has now also been declared as Idaho's CMV Awareness Month to coincide with National Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month. In honor of Idaho's newly declared awareness month, Rachels and Hall plan to distribute CMV educational materials to childcare centers and Early Head Start programs. Depending on funds available, the women hope to give "Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV" to directors and/or the educational coloring book, "Once Upon a Placemat--A Table Setting Tale," also by Saunders, to staff members so they and their students will learn how to set the table and share a meal, not the germs (see Fundraiser Sets Sights on CMV Awareness, Malone, 2018).  The Idaho CMV Advocacy Project is dedicated to educating Idaho women and families about the risks of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) during pregnancy and prevention strategies. https://idahocmv.com. (For more information, or to help the Idaho CMV Advocacy Project, contact Jessica Rachels and  Rebekah Hall at  Idahocmv@gmail.com).


MEDIA COVERAGE OF LISA’S CMV WORK


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