TAMPA, Fla., April 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, the National CMV Foundation nominated congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) for inclusion on the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP), a list of 61 conditions the Secretary of Health and Human Services recommends states include in newborn screening panels.
Congenital CMV infection is arguably the most common, preventable cause of neonatal disability in the United States, affecting more than 30,000 children a year. It is the leading cause of non-genetic hearing loss in children, and about one in every five children born with CMV will suffer permanent, irreversible disabilities, including: sensory, physical, and cognitive deficits.
"Congenital CMV is the number one cause of congenital abnormalities in newborns," said Dr. Stanley Plotkin, M.D. "Largely ignored as a public health problem, development of effective screening tools and therapies make it possible to support positive health outcomes for thousands of newborns."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CMV is a common, symptomless virus affecting over half of adults by age 40, but it's a serious concern for pregnant women.
"Universal screening will provide the public and researchers with much better data about scope of impact and will very likely lead to greater investment in treatment and vaccine research," said Sara Doutre, National CMV Foundation scientific advisory committee chair. "We are excited to take the first step of nominating this virus to the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children for inclusion on the RUSP and supporting their review with any necessary trials and supplemental research."
More children live with disabilities due to congenital CMV than other well-known infections and syndromes, including: Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, spina bifida, pediatric HIV/AIDS, toxoplasmosis, and Zika – yet less than ten percent of women know about CMV.
"We've made significant progress over the last 30 years in the development of screening tools and therapeutic advances for treating babies with congenital CMV," said David Kimberlin, Professor of Pediatrics and Co-Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "The time is right to begin testing every child."
About the National CMV Foundation
The National CMV Foundation seeks to educate and advocate for progress in preventing and treating congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. Through delivering evidence-based guidelines for prevention, funding medical research advances, and advocating for vaccine development, the foundation is committed to eliminating congenital CMV infections in newborn children.
National CMV Foundation Contact:
Becky Ericson, 314-497-5814
SOURCE National CMV Foundation