National legislation has been passed designating the month of June as “National Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month” recommending “more effort be taken to counsel women of childbearing age of the effect this virus can have on their children”. In this thhird week, the theme is “CMV is Preventable”.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 1 in every 150 children is born with congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus). CMV is the most common congenital (meaning present at birth) infection in the United States and is the most common viral cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities, including deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities, seizures, and death.
CMV is a common virus, present in saliva, urine, tears, blood, and mucus, and is carried by 75 percent of healthy infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children who contract the virus from their peers. About 60 percent of women are at risk for contracting CMV during pregnancy, posing a major risk to mothers, daycare workers, preschool teachers, therapists, and nurses. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the CDC recommend that OB/GYNs counsel women on basic prevention measures to guard against CMV infection. These include frequent hand washing, not kissing young children on the mouth, and not sharing food, towels, or utensils with them.
CMV is Preventable
- Pregnant women who already have young children, or who work with young children, are at highest risk of catching CMV
- CMV is found in home and daycare settings
- 75% of toddlers have CMV in their urine and saliva in studies at childcare settings
- Avoid contact with saliva – kiss kids under the age of 6 on the forehead instead of lips or cheek
- Wash your hands after contact with bodily fluids of children under the age of 6
- Don’t share utensils, drinks, or toothbrushes with children under the age of 6
Want to help raise awareness of CMV? Join National CMV’s hashtag awareness campaign and share infographcs, photos, and stories on social media! National CMV maintains a website-based tagboard – a curated public display of all social media posts with the hashtags #stopcmv and #cmvawareness. You can check out the tagboard by simply scrolling down on their homepage!
Each week of June will have a different themed awareness infographic, as well as ideas for a weekly photo that you can post to social media to tell the world about your experience with CMV. They suggest you get creative and be authentic, even if the suggested photos may not apply to your experience–all of our stories are important!