Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mom & Dr. Ask State to Stop #1 Birth Defects Virus---AGAIN

Lisa Saunders
PO Box 389, Mystic, CT 06355


Mom and Pediatrician Ask Conn. to Be 2nd State to Stop #1 Birth Defects Virus
Preventable virus disables 50 babies in Connecticut every year--proposed H.B. 5525 includes Cytomegalovirus (CMV) public education program


Mystic, Conn.— Lisa Saunders didn’t know how to prevent contracting cytomegalovirus (CMV), which causes more disabilities than Down syndrome, until it was too late for her daughter born severely mentally and physically disabled by the disease. Connecticut women of child-bearing age are still not routinely advised on CMV’s prevalence and how to avoid it. Neither is the rest of the country except the State of Utah.

Both residing in Mystic, Saunders, the parent representative for Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation, and Brenda K. Balch, MD, American Academy of Pediatrics Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Chapter Champion, sought passage of a bill similar to Utah’s in 2014. Balch has a strong interest in preventing congenital CMV as it is the most common cause of nonhereditary sensorineural hearing loss in childhood. Balch said, “We must commit to educating the public about cytomegalovirus so that we can potentially prevent the devastating consequences of this disease on our children."


  • Congenital CMV causes one child to become disabled every hour.
  • About 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV infection (approximately 30,000).
  • About 1 in 750 children in the United States is born with or develops permanent problems due to congenital CMV infection.
  • In the United States, more than 5,000 children each year suffer permanent problems caused by CMV infection. 

Saunders, author of Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus), said, “My OB/GYNs didn’t tell me how to prevent congenital CMV until after my daughter was born. Then I received literature stating women who work in daycare, or have a young child in daycare, are at a higher risk for catching it as toddlers are the majority of carriers. While I was pregnant with Elizabeth, I had a toddler plus ran a licensed daycare center. Nowhere in the licensing literature was there a CMV prevention message. In milder cases, children may lose hearing or struggle with learning. But Elizabeth's case was not a mild one.” Elizabeth died at age 16 in 2006 during a seizure.
In 2014, the Senate failed to vote on the bill before the end of the session despite “Letters of Testimony” from mothers whose babies were disabled by the preventable disease and Yale University’s Eugene D. Shapiro, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Investigative Medicine.

Saunders and Balch were interviewed about the disease and the 2014 CMV bill on Fox CT.
Saunders and Balch are once again asking Connecticut residents to call or write to members of the Public Health Committee plus their own legislators to ask them to support H.B. 5525.
Saunders has prepared a one-page fact sheet with answers to most frequently asked questions. See:
For more information about congenital cytomegalovirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at or write to Lisa Saunders at or Dr. Brenda Balch at

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