According to the national CMV website, congenital cytomegalovirus is the most common viral infection, and the leading non-genetic cause of hearing loss, that infants are born with in the United States. Every pregnant woman is at risk of getting it. But only 9% of women know about it.
About one out of every 150 babies are born with congenital CMV infection. While most babies show no signs or symptoms, for some it can cause major health problems, and even worse, death.
Cytomeglovirus is a virus that is common in the environment,” said Cara Gluck. “But if a pregnant woman is exposed to the virus, she has the risk of passing the virus to her unborn child.”
Gluck found out her son Parker had congenital cytomegalovirus, or CMV after he was born.
“He was very sick when he was born,” said Gluck. “He had little blood spots from the very top of his head to down to the bottom of his feet. Which is a common symtom of CMV”
Colleen Gallimore’s daughter Faith, was also born with CMV. However, Colleen learned something was wrong, long before her daughter Faith was born at just 20 weeks.
“You always hope for a healthy baby,” said Gallimore. “And when you get told that they’re not healthy, that’s kind of a difficult thing to process.”
congenital CMV is the leading cause of cerebral palsy, which is what Parker developed. But Gluck says it hasn’t held him back from being just like other kids.
“He’s active, he likes soccer. he likes reading. He loves to be outside,” said Gluck. “Really pretty much a typical little boy with some developmental delays. But other than that, he’s a very happy well rounded little guy.”
Colleen says they are lucky because Faith is not as affected as some children with CMV are.
“The problems that she has currently is we are working with her speech,” said Gallimore. “And she has some balance issues. But other than that, no significant problems.”
However, some children born with CMV can have hearing loss, vision loss, enlarged liver or spleen, a small head, and cognitive delays, which is why Colleen and Cara are trying to raise awareness of it.
“If women just had a little bit of education, they could make some behavioral changes while they’re pregnant,” said Gluck. “Those 40 weeks that they’re pregnant, and minimize their risk.”
According to the National CMV foundation: there are some tips to help prevent CMV.
Don’t share food, utensils, drinks or straws…
Don’t put a child’s pacifier in your mouth…
Don’t kiss a child on the mouth…
And always wash your hands.
CMV is most common among children one to five years of age, especially for those in daycare and preschool.
The 5th annual 1,2,3 wash away CMV awareness family fun run and walk will be held on Saturday, June 22nd at 8:30am at Cameron University’s Aggie mile. It is to help raise awareness of the virus. It is 15 dollars to participate in the run, and you can register online at active dot com, or find a link to register on their facebook page 1-2-3-wash away C-M-V.