Thursday, April 29, 2021

New Child Care Protector Bill: Workplace Safety-- Protect Caregiver/Teacher pregnancies from CMV, #1 birth defects virus

The New York Stop CMV Project is a collaboration of parents and doctors who want to improve cytomegalovirus (CMV) prevention education thought legislation. Prevention tips: (Illustration by Marianne Greiner, coloring by Suzanne Doukas Niermeyer.)

Stop CMV, #1 birth defects virus- Vote AYE for "Elizabeth's law", Senate Bill 6287

Despite OSHA recognizing cytomegalovirus(CMV) as an occupational hazard, most child care workers are unaware their unborn babies are at risk

New York--Child care workers are largely unaware they have an occupational hazard for cytomegalovirus (CMV), the leading viral cause of birth defects, despite OSHA's warnings, which states, "Workers in childcare and some healthcare jobs have frequent potential exposure to people—usually children—infected with CMV."

On April 20, 2021, New York Senator John W. Mannion (D) 50th Senate District filed Senate Bill S6287, establishing "Elizabeth's law," in memory of my daughter, which would require "child care providers to be trained on the impacts and dangers of congenital cytomegalovirus infection and the treatments and methods of prevention of cytomegalovirus infection." See:

I am Lisa Saunders, a former licensed child care provider, who was uninformed of my increased risk for CMV. My daughter Elizabeth was born with a severely damaged brain from congenital CMV in 1989 and died in 2006 during a seizure. "This is a very common virus, but it remains somewhat under the radar. A woman can unknowingly acquire it during pregnancy, and pass the infection to the unborn baby," states Sunil K. Sood, M.D., Chair of Pediatrics, South Shore University Hospital, Attending Physician, Infectious Diseases, Cohen Children's Medical Center and Professor, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

"CMV is spread from person to person through body fluids. Day care workers, nurses, mothers of young children, and others who work with young children are at greatest risk of exposure to CMV. Since young children commonly carry CMV, pregnant women and women planning pregnancies should take extra care to avoid urine and saliva from young children" ("Could CMV Be the Cause of My Baby's Failed Hearing Test?", NYMetroParents, 2016).


  1. Only 18.5% of licensed "in-home" daycare providers surveyed have heard of CMV and "Providers do not know how to appropriately sanitize surfaces to reduce spread of disease" (Thackeray and Magnusson, 2016).
  2. A nationwide child care survey confirmed: "Consistent with previous research, child care providers do not have knowledge regarding CMV or cCMV" (DeWald et al., 2018)


Utah and Idaho have already passed laws to help educate child care providers. 

There are two ways NY residents can show their support of Senate Bill S6287:

1) Contact your senator and ask them to support Senate Bill S6287 so child care providers can be educated about their occupational risk for cytomegalovirus (CMV) and how to prevent it.


2) Click on Senate Bill S6287 at:, then look to the right of the bill page, and click on "AYE" under "DO YOU SUPPORT THIS BILL." Your vote will be shared with the senator of your district (they will want you to set up an account with your address so they can see which district you are from). If you set up an account, you will be able to make "Comments" at the bottom of the bill.

To get others involved or to raise awareness, you may wish to share:

The American Academy of Pediatrics co-authored the following "Staff Education and Policies on Cytomegalovirus (CMV)" found at:​

Free resources/links to help employers and child care providers learn about CMV:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

"CMV Fact Sheet for Pregnant Women and Parents" in English and Spanish

National CMV Foundation Wall Poster "Are You Pregnant?"


For Caregivers/Teachers/Educators:

"CMV Training Module Video":

(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

For Employers:

1. Publication: Brown, N. J. (2019, November). Occupational exposure to cytomegalovirus (CMV): Preventing exposure in child care and educational settings, including OSHA advisories. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, ILR School. (Available from:

2. Vimeo

3. Download video workshop

This publication/presentation is by Nellie Brown, MS, CIH, Certified Industrial Hygienist, and Director, Workplace Health and Safety Program, Worker Institute, Cornell University – ILR School. The information in this training program was originally developed for The Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine at the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC). Permission to make this training program available online granted by The Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine. For further information, or to ask about a Q and A over Zoom, contact Nellie Brown at:

Below my signature, are "call to action" ideas and more information about my work to Stop CMV.

"Protect your pregnancy--stop CMV!"


Lisa Saunders

Baldwinsville, NY

Lisa is the producer of: PSA: "Had I known (about CMV). Recent media coverage includes:


Please help protect the unborn children in your community by considering the following acts:

1) Share with friends, family and social media the CDC's educational CMV materials, such as the flyer, "CMV Fact Sheet for Pregnant Women and Parents," available in English and Spanish ( For English pdf:

2) If you agree with the "Declaration of Women's CMV Rights and Sentiments" document, then sign in comments and please share.

3) Share this public service music video on social media and use it for presentations: "Had I Known (about CMV)"

4) Join the National CMV Foundation's "Stop CMV Hands Campaign" by photographing your "Stop CMV" hands under your hometown street or state trail signs so legislators can see where you live. Share these photographs with your legislators, asking them to improve CMV prevention education through their Public Health Departments. Share your Stop CMV hand photos on your social media with hashtag, #StopCMV.

5) On June 5, 2021, 1pm, to honor National CMV Awareness Month and National Trails Day, the public is invited to join family and friends of those affected by CMV at the Trail of Hope in the Erie Canal town of Lyons at the Lyons Community Center. The Declaration of Women's CMV Rights and Sentiments will be read aloud and 226 stones placed on the trail to honor the average number of New York newborns disabled by congenital CMV each year.