I have mentioned Kids Who Count often because of the support and services that they provide to the children in Nebo School District.
In addition to all of the assessments and different types of therapy they offer, they are also a strong educational resource for our community. It was through their Facebook page that I learned about cytomegalovirus, or CMV. Since June is National CMV Awareness Month, I felt that the information was important and wanted to share it further.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every 150 babies are born with congenital CMV. In fact, it is the most common congenital 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. It is carried by 75 percent of healthy infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children who contract it from their peers according to nationalcmv.org. It is even estimated that 50-80 percent of adults in the United States have been infected with CMV by the time they are 40 years old.
Cytomegalovirus is a common virus that can infect almost anyone. Unfortunately, once you are infected, your body retains the virus for life. Since it rarely causes any problems in healthy people, many that have it do not know.
It is recommended by the National CMV Foundation that women in the childbearing age range should know her CMV status. Upon testing, women with no history of prior infection should minimize their risk of contracting. CMV spreads from person to person through body fluids such as blood, saliva, urine, semen and breast milk. Therefore, obvious safety precautions would include not sharing items such as silverware, drinks, straws, toothbrush, etc. and washing your hands often, especially after wiping a young child’s nose, changing diapers, feeding a young child and handling children’s toys.
If a recent CMV infection is determined upon testing, women should consult with their physician to find out how long they should wait until they try to conceive. Women who are already pregnant will work with their physicians regarding risk factors. If the result of the testing finds a past CMV infection that is not recent, it is recommended that they follow all prevention recommendations during pregnancy due to the possibility that a recurrent CMV infection, or one with a different strain, could potentially cause harm.
The four points that the National CMV Foundation wants to stress during the month of June are first, that CMV is common. Second, that CMV is serious. Third that CMV is preventable. Fourth, that people should be more educated about this common virus. There are many sites that provide more information into this virus, its prevention and treatment.