Thursday, March 25, 2010

4/10 Lecture: Stop CMV--#1 Birth Defects Virus

Author Lectures on #1 Birth Defects Virus—More Common Than Down Syndrome

"What you don't know could hurt your unborn baby"

Hawthorne, N.J.--Author and mother of child disabled by congenital CMV discusses how to prevent the #1 viral cause of birth defects, which causes more disabilities than Down syndrome.

Saturday, April 10, 1 p.m.
“Stop CMV--#1 Birth Defects Virus”
Presented by Lisa Saunders,
Congenital CMV Foundation and STOP CMV representative
Location: Louis Bay 2nd Public Library, Hawthorne, N.J.
Admission: Free

Few women have heard of congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus), which causes more disabilities than Down syndrome, and more than half of OB/GYNs surveyed admitted they don't warn their patients about it. Lisa Saunders of Suffern, N.Y., will discuss how to protect unborn children from CMV as well as other germs that cause birth-defects.

Saunders didn’t know about CMV prevention until her daughter, Elizabeth, was born severely disabled by the virus in 1989. Elizabeth had cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and was mentally, visually and hearing impaired.

Saunders, author of memoir, “Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV,” spoke at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, G.A., at the international 2008 Congenital CMV Conference. She said, “Mothers at the conference were coming up to me after my speech, with their children in wheelchairs or wearing hearing aids, and asked, ‘Why didn’t my OB/GYN warn me how to protect my baby from CMV?’”

In the article, “Washing our hands of the congenital cytomegalovirus disease epidemic,” Drs. Cannon and Davis state: “The virtual absence of a prevention message has been due, in part, to the low profile of congenital CMV. Infection is usually asymptomatic in both mother and infant, and when symptoms do occur, they are non-specific, so most CMV infections go undiagnosed.

According to the CDC, in the U.S.:

• Every hour, congenital CMV causes one child to become disabled

• Each year, about 30,000 children are born with congenital CMV infection• About 1 in 750 children is born with or develops permanent disabilities due to CMV

• About 8,000 children each year suffer permanent disabilities caused by CMV (See:

Saunders is a full-time writer for the State University of New York at Rockland and is a member if its Speakers Bureau. She is also the Congenital CMV Foundation parent representative and a STOP CMV area rep. To learn more about her work to stop CMV, visit: For more information about the lecture, contact Clara Caldarone, Program Coordinator, at, (973) 427-5745 x 11, or visit: