CMV Awareness Month sees call for government review and funding for screenings

on 15 June 2021

The month of June is International Cytomegalovirus (CMV) awareness month and CMV Action are calling on the UK Government to review and fund screenings at birth.

CMV is the most common virus that can damage a growing foetus, affecting 2 to 3 babies everyday in the UK or around 1,000 babies a year.

CMV Action is calling on the Government to introduce screenings at birth to improve outcomes for babies. The petition can be signed here.

The virus is more common than Down’s Syndrome and causes more birth defects and childhood deaths than Toxoplasmosis (found in cat faeces) and Listeriosis (found in soft cheese).

First-time mother Alicia gave birth to a baby girl at Scunthorpe Hospital, North Lincolnshire, in 2018.

Alicia had ‘minor’ concerns about baby Scarlett’s small head and slight rash and were sent home three days later following the birth.

Now at 2 and a half years old Scarlett is profoundly deaf, visually impaired and unable to sit unaided. Scarlett also suffers from seizures and has to be tube fed.

Scarlett’s conditions was caused by CMV, which she picked up during pregnancy. When a baby is born with CMV, it is then called congenital CMV (cCMV).

Alicia said: “I had never heard of cCMV before. Even when I talk to people now, no one seems to know about it. People need to know about it and know how to reduce their risk of giving it to their unborn child. My little girl will experience the devastating consequences of cCMV for the rest of her life.

“I now know that early intervention is key. I feel guilty as a parent that I wasn’t aware of CMV at all. To other mums-to-be please, please read-up about cCMV and please sign the petition to have routine screening at birth for CMV.”

CMV Action is the only UK charity that supports and advice to families affected by cCMV.