Sunday, March 9, 2014

Support CT's CMV education: HB 5147

Lisa's Letter to the Editor:

Connecticut is now proposing House Bill 5147, which includes CMV (cytomegalovirus) education. CMV is the #1 birth defects virus, causes more disabilities than Down syndrome, yet most women don’t know how to prevent it.

It’s too late for my daughter Elizabeth who was born with a severely damaged brain, but I hope the public will contact the Public Health Committee to support the bill along with a Yale professor, other medical professionals, and parents. A similar bill was passed in Utah.   

Less than half of OB/GYNs surveyed said they counseled their patients on how to prevent CMV infection, despite these U.S. statistics from the CDC:

•Congenital CMV causes one child to become disabled every hour.

•About 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV infection each year (approximately 30,000).

OB/GYNs didn’t tell me how to prevent CMV until after Elizabeth was born. Then I learned those working in daycare, or have a child in daycare, are at a higher risk for catching it as preschoolers are the majority of carriers. Mothers must wash their hands after handling toys and should not kiss their toddlers around the mouth.  While I was pregnant, I had a toddler plus ran a licensed daycare center. In milder cases, children may lose hearing or struggle with learning. But Elizabeth's case was not a mild one. She died at 16.

Lisa Saunders

PO Box 389

Mystic, CT 06355

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