A victory for several Connecticut mothers, working tirelessly to raise awareness about CMV (Cytomegalovirus) - a common virus that can spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, sometimes causing severe birth defects.
Yesterday, Governor Malloy signed the CMV Bill, requiring a screening test for newborns who fail a hearing test, into law. This makes Connecticut one of the first states to enact this legislation.
Last year, Mystic mom Lisa Saunders shared her daughter's story with Mommy Minute. Elizabeth's severely damaged brain was the result of congenital CMV. A quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, who endured countless surgeries and bouts with peneumonia, Elizabeth died during a seizure when she was 16 years old. Saunders, and other local parents, believe the public doesn't know enough about CMV and how to prevent it which involves easy steps such as not kissing a toddler on the mouth if pregnant. Saunders was discouraged when the bill stalled in 2014 but is now thrilled at the progress that has been made.
Saunders responds to the signing of the law, in an email exchange:
"I'm just overwhelmed with joy that something is finally going to be done in our state to fight this number one viral cause of birth defects. I used to think I had to get thin and famous to get the public to listen to me about preventing congenital cytomegalovirus from disabling their newborn as it did mine--our Elizabeth was unable to walk, talk or even sit up by herself. But our state representatives listened to us parents, doctors and the CDC and passed this bill as a step in preventing such severe suffering from happening to others. It will help those born with the disease receive early diagnosis and intervention, which will in turn help raise awareness and make women of child bearing age ask how they can avoid congenital cytomegalovirus in the first place. In fact, I'm already being asked to give presentations to help educate the public. Until a vaccine is invented, my dream is that everyone will know not to kiss a toddler around the mouth or share food with them--especially if their child is in a daycare center where a large percent of toddlers are shedding the virus."
New Canaan mother Casey Famigletti also got involved, testifying at the public hearing and sharing her daughter's experience with the public.