Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus. Once infected, your body retains the virus for life. Most people don’t know they have CMV because it rarely causes problems in healthy people.
If you’re pregnant, however, CMV is cause for concern. Women who develop an active CMV infection during pregnancy can pass the virus to their babies, who might then experience symptoms. When a CMV infection is passed from a mother to her unborn child, the infection is called congenital cytomegalovirus, or cCMV for short. cCMV is the most common infection passed from mother to unborn child. Every year, approximately one in 200 babies are born with cCMV. Of those, one in five babies will have a permanent disability such as hearing loss, intellectual disability, or vision impairment. cCMV has a higher disease burden and causes more disability than all other congenital conditions that are currency screened for at birth. However, if detected early, hearing loss and neurological differences due to cCMV infection can be treated with antiviral medication.
Unfortunately, most cases of cCMV are not being diagnosed. A diagnosis of cCMV at birth would ensure proper care and follow-ups for hearing loss, vision impairments, gross and fine motor outcomes as well as neurodevelopmental differences. cCMV is detectable with a simple test at birth. Universal screening is the only way to ensure that we catch all cases of cCMV, leading to improved outcomes for each and every child.
Help the Canadian CMV Foundation bring universal cCMV screening to Manitoba by signing the petition at www.change.org/UniversalScreeningMB.