I’m Lisa Saunders, a former licensed child care provider who was unaware of my occupational hazard for contracting cytomegalovirus (CMV) until it was too late. My daughter Elizabeth was born at Christmas time in 1989 with a severally damaged brain because I caught CMV when pregnant. Surrounded by Christmas decorations in the hospital, I tried to recover from the shock when I was given a pamphlet stating that women who work in child care are at greater risk for CMV. Mothers of young children in group care are also at increased risk for contracting CMV (Pass et al., 1986).
Each year, congenital CMV disables 4,000 babies in the U.S.*
Caution: My following letter reveals a very "inconvenient truth" about CMV and toddler saliva and includes links to the CDC's flyers on CMV prevention (English/Spanish), so you can ensure moms/caregivers/teachers know how to protect their unborn children. If you are a reporter wondering why you have never heard of this, I tell you who to investigate here.
In addition to the AAP, CMV is acknowledged as an occupational hazard by NAEYC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, the accrediting organization that promotes "steps to reduce occupational hazards such as infectious diseases (e.g., exposure of pregnant staff to CMV…”
Workers have the right to “receive information and training about hazards” (Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) yet recent surveys show that most women have never heard of CMV (Doutre et al, 2016), including child care providers (Thackeray and Magnusson, 2016). Many caregivers surveyed acknowledge using diaper wipes to clean, but diaper wipes do not effectively remove CMV from hands (Stowell et al., 2014). Although soap and water is best, hand sanitizer will reduce levels of CMV when a sink is not readily available. Staff are usually trained in disinfecting procedures but this only helps reduce CMV transmission if they are motivated to follow them. CMV prevention can be built into infectious diseases training. CMV is also a blood-borne pathogen.
Please ask child care programs to adopt the following policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
Staff Education and Policies on Cytomegalovirus (CMV): "Female employees of childbearing age should be referred to their primary health care provider or to the health department authority for counseling about their risk of CMV infection. This counseling may include testing for serum antibodies to CMV to determine the employee’s immunity against CMV infection…it is also important for the child care center director to inform infant caregivers/teachers of the increased risk of exposure to CMV during pregnancy” (Caring for Our Children, AAP, et al, revised 3/31/17, nrckids.org/CFOC/
For sharing this blog post: https://congenitalcmv.blogspot.com/2018/12/christmas-gift-tell-caregiversteachers.html