Lisa Saunders with her new baby, Elizabeth, born with a severely damaged brain from congenital CMV in 1989. Elizabeth died in Nyack, NY, during a seizure at the age of 16 in 2006.
Dear New York Resident:
Do you have a moment to help prevent the #1 birth defects virus among your family and friends? Every year in the U.S., approximately 4,000 babies are born permanently disabled by congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), the leading viral cause of birth defects. If you want to help your community have healthier babies (while saving tax dollars), please contact your local senator (find at: https://www.nysenate.gov/
Dear Senator of District 50:
The 2018 NY CMV law requires some CMV education by the Department of Health, but it's been learned that caregivers/teachers are still not being educated about their occupational hazard for it and need to discuss this risk with their doctor or health department per recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) (I give AAP recommendations below my signature).HOWARD A. ZUCKER, M.D., J.D ,Commissioner of Health for New York State, stated in his monthly August 2018 letter: "People who have frequent contact with young children may be at greater risk of CMV infection. CMV can be present in especially high amounts in young children's saliva and urine for months after they become infected. While exposure to CMV may be difficult to avoid, particularly for those who have young children already, it is imperative that we give women of reproductive age the information they need to make informed decisions for themselves and their families...According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), female workers of reproductive age in child care centers should be educated on CMV and its potential risks, and should have access to appropriate hygiene measures to minimize occupationally-acquired infection... " (https://
health.ny.gov/commissioner/ letters/docs/2018-08.pdf).CMV by the NumbersIn 2018, in the U.S, 3,791,712 babies were born. with 1/200 born with congenital CMV (cCMV) x 1/5 disabled (or .001) by cCMV= 3,792 babies disabled by cCMV in the U.S. (https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/ index.html).In 2018, In New York, the annual cost of caring for children disabled by cCMV can be calculated at 226,238 births in NY x .1% cCMV disabled = 226 babies X $300,000/year (Modlin et al, 2004) = $67,800,000 or over 67 million dollars annually to care for cCMV disabled children in New York.
FREE CMV EDUCATION RESOURCES
There are several free educational tools, such as flyers from the CDC and presentations from Cornell University, to help the Department of Health follow the current NY CMV law and OSHA's action on CMV in the child care setting. These resources can be accessed here: https://cmvmass.org/
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide to protect the health of unborn children!
CMV Mom and Policy Advocate
216 Peakwood Lane, Apt 15
Baldwinsville, NY 13027
Producer of the PSA: "Had I known (about CMV)
About me: I am a former licensed in-home child care provider unaware of my occupational hazard for CMV until it was too late to help my daughter Elizabeth born with a severely damaged brain from congenital CMV. I was stunned to learn after Elizabeth's birth that caregivers/teachers of toddlers were at greater risk for CMV. Elizabeth was deaf/blind, profoundly mentally impaired, and had cerebral palsy. She died at 16 during a seizure in 2006. If I had known about my increased risk for CMV during my child care licensing training, I would have been more careful to follow the hygiene guidelines, would not have tried to save time by using diaper wipes to clean hands and surfaces, and perhaps I would have only cared for children over two if I received a blood test showing I had no antibodies for CMV. The cost of caring for my daughter was considerable. In addition to requiring special education for 16 years, she required several surgeries including spinal fusion, hip reconstruction, and tendon releases. She needed specifically fitted wheelchairs and continual refitting for orthotics as she aged. She wore hearing aids for a time and regularly received occupational, physical, speech and visual therapies. She had monthly EEGs to pinpoint the location of her seizures for possible brain surgery and she took several ambulance rides when her seizures went out of control. She was on several medications. After her death in 2006, I have worked tirelessly to prevent this from happening to others. In 2015, I helped Connecticut pass a CMV law, which was covered in Cornell Alumni magazine: "In Memory of Elizabeth: Her daughter’s death from a preventable disability spurs Lisa Avazian Saunders ’82 into action." I am the author of 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; and Anything But A Dog!: The Perfect Pet For A Girl With Congenital 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.” 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
2) HOWARD A. ZUCKER, M.D., J.D ,Commissioner of Health for New York, stated: "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), female workers of reproductive age in child care centers should be educated on CMV and its potential risks, and should have access to appropriate hygiene measures to minimize occupationally-acquired infection " (August 2018).
3) American Academy of Pediatrics stated: “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 ("Cytomegalovirus Infection in Pregnancy: Should All Women Be Screened?", Carlson et al., 2010).
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 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…)”document, “
Utah's wording for CMV education (HB0081):
13 This bill:
15 pregnant women and women who may become pregnant about the occurrence of
16 CMV, the transmission of CMV, the birth defects that CMV can cause, methods of
21 Facility Licensing and Inspection Act;
23 boards of education of this state, private education institutions that provide
24 education in lieu of that provided by the public education system, or by
25 parochial education institutions;
28 program, relating to the education or study of children, that is provided to
29 students of the institution of higher education;
31 the public schools if the care is provided under contract with the public schools
32 or on school properties or if the public schools accept responsibility and
33 oversight for the care provided by the organizations;
35 under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or that are provided
36 pursuant to a written agreement with a municipality or county;
38 by the Department of Human Services;
43 programs as a component of worship services;
ORGANIZATIONS THAT SHOULD WANT TO RAISE CMV AWARENESS
- Child Care Aware: https://www.
childcareaware.org/ (they published my article, "The Danger of Spreading CMV: How We Can Protect Our Children" (ChildCare Aware of America, 2017: https://info. childcareaware.org/blog/the- danger-of-spreading-cmv-how- we-we-can-protect-our-children )
- Office of Child Care: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/
- Early Childhood Development State and Regional Contacts - https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ecd/
- Early Care and Education Consortium – The Voice for Child Care Providers – http://www.ececonsortium.
- Early Childhood Teaching, Development and Learning from Head Start. – https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.
- Early Educator Central – Training for infant-toddler educators – https://
- National Association for Family Child Care – www.nafcc.org
- National Association for the Education of Young Children – www.naeyc.org
- National Network for Childcare – www.nncc.org
- National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education – nrckids.org
- Best College’s list of best online bachelor’s in early childhood education programs – www.bestcolleges.com/
features/best-online- bachelors-early-childhood- education/
- Early Childhood Teacher unions: https://www.aft.org/
- National Perinatal Associate: http://www.
- MotherToBaby.org provides factsheet on CMV and mentions childcare workers: https://mothertobaby.
org/fact-sheets/ cytomegalovirus-cmv-pregnancy/ pdf/
- Daycare.com: Cytomegalovirus webpage: https://www.daycare.com/
- OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): https://www.hhs.gov/
Image caption: Ceremonial bill signing for Public Act 15-10: An Act Concerning Cytomegalovirus at the Office of the Governor in Hartford, Conn., on July 28. Left to right: Jane Baird, Government Relations, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Dr. Wallis Molchen, Chief Resident, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Jane Brancifort, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Public Health; State Representative John Hampton; Dr. Brenda K. Balch, American Academy of Pediatrics Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Chapter Champion; Nancy Wyman, Lt. Governor; Lisa Saunders, parent representative, Congenital Cytomegalovirus