When I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with Emma I contracted a virus that is little more than a cold and uneventful unless, of course, you are pregnant. The virus was cytomegalovirus, or CMV, and it is the most common cause of birth defects and childhood disabilities in the Unites States and I had never heard of it. Not only had I never heard of it, but also it seemed like almost everyone I know had never heard of it. I am wondering right now how many people reading this has ever heard of CMV.
The glaring lack of knowledge about such a devastating virus led to a grassroot effort to increase awareness and prevention of CMV (this started long before I was even pregnant with Emma, but I had not heard about it yet). It was initiated by families effected by CMV who work diligently to spread the message of CMV and prevention to everyone we know. Stop CMV, the CMV Action Network, has also worked tirelessly to help promote the message of CMV awareness and prevention within the medical community and in June the message of CMV was launched into more of a national spotlight with Senate Resolution #215.
On June 23, 2011 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolution #215 that:
- Designated the month of June 2011 as National Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month in order to raise awareness of the dangers of CMV and reduce the occurrence of congenital CMV infedtion; and
- Recommends that more effort be taken to counsel women of childbearing age of the effect this virus can have on their children.
While there is a lot of work needed to make sure every woman of childbearing age knows about CMV and prevention, this is a great step towards that goal. I am so proud of the people who worked to make this happen. I am truly hopeful for a day when families are so aware of CMV and prevention that it is no longer a significant cause of birth defects and disabilities. I am truly hopeful!