Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

1 in 150 children is born with cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Mothers from the Congenital CMV Association Australia are on a mission to raise awareness and give other parents the opportunity they didn't have.

CMV is the most common infectious and viral cause of disabilities to newborn babies. It is more common than fetal alcohol syndrome, spina bifida, toxoplasmosis, Down syndrome and zika virus infection – which is not currently present in Australia. Congenital CMV has also been linked to stillbirths, and although discovered 60 years ago it is still largely unknown to the public even though women could reduce their risk of contracting CMV by 50% by making minor behaviour modifications while they are pregnant.
Studies in Australia have shown that out of 1,000 live births, about 6 infants will have congenital CMV infection and 1-2 of those 6 infants (about 1 in 1000 infants overall) will have permanent disabilities of varying degree. These can include hearing loss, vision loss, microcephaly, cerebral palsy, developmental delay or intellectual disability, epilepsy, motor planning problems, feeding issues and death. That is at least one affected child with congenital CMV born in Australia every day.
Mothers throughout Australia from the Congenital CMV Association's peer support group on Facebook are hoping to raise awareness about congenital CMV so that other parents can have an opportunity they didn’t, to minimize their risk of contracting the virus and giving it to their unborn babies.
"I think it's fair to say we all feel the frustration over the lack of public awareness about CMV! I truly hope that Zika will shine some light on CMV as well."
Naomi Lisa Williams
"I feel extremely sad for pregnant women diagnosed with Zika but at the same time you wonder how many pregnant women were infected with CMV today?"
Bree Pennie
We know that informing mothers intending pregnancy, and informing pregnant women about CMV, reduces their chances of having a baby with this infection. Awareness, information for parents and research will all help to reduce congenital CMV, and the time to act is now!
Webpage: www.cmv.org.au
Kate Daly, 0414 641 841, [email protected]

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