Kimberley Walsh becomes a patron of CMV Action and launches the "Wash Away CMV" campaign.

     
Kimberley-Walsh-CMV-Patron

Girls Aloud Star & CMV Action Patron Launches “Wash Away CMV” Campaign

June 2014

Kimberley Walsh, newly-appointed patron of CMV Action – a charity dedicated to raising awareness of and, ultimately, eradicating a killer virus that affects 1 in 1000 newborn babies in the UK each year – has launched the “Wash Away CMV” campaign.

 She is asking people to post pictures of their hands with the words Wash Away CMV written on them to highlight the message that something as simple as washing your hands can prevent the spread of CMV, especially amongst pregnant women.

Kimberley-Walsh-WashAwayCMV

These simple hiygene precautions include three important areas:

DON’T SHARE: 

  • Avoid sharing dummies, cutlery, drinks or food with anyone.
  • Avoid kissing young children under the age of 6 on the mouth or cheek. Instead, kiss them on the head or give them a big hug.

WASH WITH CARE:  

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with any bodily fluids. Wash well for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Wash any items that have been contaminated by bodily fluids with soap and water

DO WEAR: 

  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse after conception 

Kimberley’s friend, Lisa, has a son, Christian, who was diagnosed with congenital cytomegalovirus shortly after being born, which has left him profoundly deaf and autistic.

CMV, or cytomegalovirus, is a common virus that can infect people of all ages. Once CMV is in a person’s body, it stays there for life. Most healthy adults and children will have no signs or symptoms, and no long-term effects. However, it can be very dangerous to unborn babies. Congenital CMV is one of the main causes of children being born with birth defects in the UK.

Pregnant women are more at risk because, if they catch the virus, it can cause a number of birth defects in their developing baby. . 

CMV is the most common infection at birth. Around 1 in 1000 babies born in the UK will be damaged by CMV – that’s nearly 1000 babies every year.  As CMV is unheard of, it is a common misconception that it is rare.  It is, in fact, more common than Down’s Syndrome, Toxoplasmosis, Spina Bifida or Rubella.  

Commenting on her decision to become a Patron of CMV Action, Kimberley Walsh said:   

"For me, it’s personal, especially now being pregnant myself.   The CMV virus affected my friend’s son, which means he has permanent disabilities.

I have always wanted to do something for Christian and particularly the charity CMV Action, set up to support families affected by CMV and to raise awareness of the CMV virus.

Congenital CMV is one of the main causes of children being born with birth defects in the UK but pregnant women are not routinely told about it, nor the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.'

Support our Wash Away CMV campaign

We have a fantastic partnership of organisations signed up to give us social media support during June.  These include the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the National Childbirth Trust, Mumsnet, the Lullaby Trust, Bliss, Sparks and Action Medical Research. They will be helping us to spread the word to families and professionals about the simple steps that can prevent CMV, including washing hands carefully.

Wash Away CMVHelp us get that message across by creating your own ‘Wash away CMV’ pictures.  Taking inspiration from the excellent Stop CMV hands campaign we will be doing our own twist in the UK during June.   Simply write ‘Wash away CMV’ on your hand, take a photo and send it in.  Together we can get the message out about the simple hygiene precautions that can save babies’ lives.

Email your photos direct to hands@cmvaction.org.uk, post them to our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/CMVAction or send us a direct message.  Tweet your photos using the hashtag  and .

ENDS

For further information, images, case studies or an interview with a CMV Action trustee, please contact Sara Stewart at Mad As A March Hare on 01886 884083 or email sara@madasamarchhare.com or tweet me on

About CMV

CMV is a virus which up to 80% of people in the UK will catch yet no-one has ever heard of it. Once caught, you have it for life.

CMV was discovered in the 50s by the same team of doctors that discovered polio, measles, mumps and chicken pox - yet CMV still remains almost unheard of and without any safe or effective vaccination or treatment.

Symptoms can be mistaken for a cold, and healthy adults will often not even realise they’ve contracted it.

However, if a pregnant woman catches CMV, it can be passed to her unborn baby with disastrous results: 

  • 1 in 1000 babies born in the UK will be affected as a result of CMV this is comparable to the number born with Down’s Syndrome
  • CMV causes more birth defects and childhood deaths than Down’s Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Toxoplasmosis, Listeria, Cystic  Fibrosis or HIV/Aids
  • CMV can be a cause of miscarriage and stillbirth
  • CMV is the major, preventable reason children are born deaf or go on to develop hearing problems in childhood
  • CMV can also cause cerebral palsy, blindness, brain calcification, learning difficulties, seizures, autism and dyspraxia as well as limiting a child’s mental and physical ability to that of a baby
  • Only a third of babies who go on to develop permanent disabilities will be obviously ill at birth. For example, newborn babies who initially appear healthy can develop a hearing loss over time.

Despite ALL THIS, very few professionals or pregnant women know about it and pregnant women are not routinely warned or educated about CMV.  This must change.

About CMV Action

CMV Action is a UK charity comprising parents and volunteers - the majority of whom have CMV children of their own - who have come together to raise public awareness of Congenital CMV, and campaign for better prevention and management measures within the NHS.

CMV Action aims to make a difference.

In June 2014, the charity is holding its first awareness month in the UK focusing on women planning a pregnancy as well as their health care providers. We want them to know about CMV and the simple steps that can be taken to prevent contracting the virus whilst pregnant.

Toddlers and babies are the most likely to spread the virus via their saliva, nasal discharge and other bodily fluids. To make matters worse, the virus can live outside the body for as long as 15 minutes.

Pregnant women are advised to follow a few basic hygiene precautions to reduce their risk of catching CMV

DON’T SHARE: 

  •  Avoid sharing dummies, cutlery, drinks or food with anyone.
  • Avoid kissing young children under the age of 6 on the mouth or cheek. Instead, kiss them on the head or give them a big hug.

WASH WITH CARE  

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with any bodily fluids. Wash well for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Wash any items that have been contaminated by bodily fluids with soap and water

DO WEAR 

  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse after conception 

The month will include:

  • Publication of UK research findings on CMV awareness amongst the general public
  • social media support from key opinion formers including the National Childbirth Trust and Mumsnet
  • WASH AWAY CMV viral photo awareness-raising campaign
  • soap bombing campaign to highlight hand-washing
     

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