|Lisa Saunders holds her newborn Elizabeth born with a severely damaged brain from congenital CMV.|
Dear Doctor, Parent, Researcher and other New Yorkers:
I wanted to make you aware of the free tools available to help you follow the New York cytomegalovirus (CMV) law and OSHA's action on CMV in the child care setting. Below my signature are links to the CDC's English and Spani
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), child care providers have an occupational hazard for CMV, the leading viral cause of birth defects. I know CMV is an "inconvenient truth" in the child care industry, especially given everyone's focus on Covid-19, but it must be dealt with before a teacher or child care provider comes to you asking why you never warned them about CMV so they could discuss their risk with their primary health care provider or health department. In a legal case involving a childcare worker and her severely disabled son versus the child care center where the mother worked, Meridian Lawyers stated: "The allegations of negligence were that Sydney Day Nursery breached its duty of care to Linda ...by failing to warn her of the risks of CMV in circumstances where the centre knew or ought to have known of the risks of CMV to pregnant women…"
10 Reasons Why You Must Tell Caregivers/Teachers about CMV
1) According to OSHA, CMV is a "Recognized Hazard". OSHA states that all workers have the right to “receive information and training on job hazards, including all hazardous substances in your workplace.”
2) OSHA and CMV: "Childcare jobs may involve contact with children infected with CMV or their saliva, nasal secretions, or excrement. CMV is spread through exposure to infected body fluids. Since a person with CMV may show no symptoms, childcare workers should utilize proper handwashing and
3) “Child care staff members should receive counseling in regard to the risks of acquiring CMV from their primary health care provider. However, 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” (Staff Education and Policies on Cytomegalovirus (CMV), "Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs", American Academy of Pediatrics et al.).
4) Approximately 1 in 200 children are born in the U.S. with congenital CMV. The impact on the fetus may include deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, seizures and even death (www.cdc.gov/cmv).
5) Congenital cytomegalovirus is a more common cause of disabilities than Zika, Down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome. CMV is the leading viral cause of birth defects.
6) CMV is a viral infection that is common in children. Up to 70% of children ages 1-3 years in group care settings excrete CMV. The New York Health Department website states, "In daycare centers, where hand washing practices may not be as good, there may be a greater risk of infection...Pregnant women working in child care facilities should minimize direct exposure to saliva and avoid kissing babies or young children on the mouth. Hugging is fine and is not a risk factor...." Information is provided in English and Spanish at: https://www.health.ny.gov/
7) Recent surveys show that most child care providers do not know about CMV and many acknowledge using diaper wipes to clean hands instead of following proper protocols (). Diaper wipes do not effectively remove CMV from hands ().
8) Child care providers serving children receiving assistance through the Child Care and Development Fund program must receive training on topics covered by the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. “Caregivers and teachers are required to be educated regarding Standard Precautions [developed by CDC] before beginning to work in the program and annually thereafter. For center-based care, training should comply with requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)” (Caring for Our Children Basics).
9) Child care providers accredited by document, “NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria & Guidance for Assessment,” which acknowledges the need to "reduce occupational hazards such as infectious diseases (e.g., exposure of pregnant staff to CMV…)”
10) In New South Wales, “a childcare worker and her severely disabled son were awarded $4.65 million. A Court of Appeal ruled that the child's disabilities resulted from the woman being infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) at work (Hughes v SDN Children's services 2002)” (Queensland Government, Australia, 2017)
Baldwinsville, New York
- Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV: Protect Newborns from #1 Birth Defects Virus
- Once Upon a Placemat--A Table Setting Tale: Coloring Book and CMV Prevention Tool
- Anything But A Dog!: The Perfect Pet For A Girl With Congenital Cmv (English and Japanese)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“CMV Fact Sheet for Pregnant Women and Parents
National CMV Foundation
Wall Poster “Are You Pregnant?”:
"CMV Training Module Video": https://aural.rehab.
(This work was supported by the AUCD and the LEND Pediatric Audiology Program made possible through a Cooperative Agreement with the Health Resources and Services Material Child Health Bureau (MCHB) grant awarded to the University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (Grant #3T73MC30115-01-01) in consultation with Child