NHS Choices - Report warns of threat to unborn babies from CMV virus


Our report - We Need To Talk About CMV was covered today NHS Choices- Behind the headlines coverage.

Some of the headlines:
"What does the charity's report say about CMV?
The expert report says CMV is a "neglected public health burden" and calls for more to be done to tackle it. It says:
- CMV affects almost 1,000 babies a year – more than Down's syndrome, toxoplasmosis or listeriosis
- one in five babies born with CMV will suffer consequences such as hearing loss, cerebral palsy and epilepsy
- there is a growing body of evidence that providing pregnant women with this information can reduce the risk of them catching CMV in pregnancy
The report also claims pregnant women receive no advice about CMV in pregnancy. But it is not possible to say to what extent GPs and midwives generally give advice on CMV to women.
It may be the case that the risks of CMV may not be as commonly discussed as those associated with food or alcohol, for example. Advice on CMV in pregnancy has been available on the NHS Choices website for many years. (Footnote from CMV Action - It was only our campaigning last year that had the advice moved to be number 2!!)
What can be done now?
The report recommends that:
  • professionals involved in the care of pregnant women improve their understanding of CMV
  • midwives and GPs advise women about reducing the risks of infection
  • health professionals dealing with the foetus and newborns should be alert to the potential signs of CMV infection so more newborns -can be diagnosed and treated in the first month of life
  • paediatricians and other professionals working with families should understand the guidelines for managing CMV so more families receive the monitoring and support their child needs
  • there should be more research into developing a vaccine against CMV and treatments that prevent its effects in babies  
What does the report recommend that pregnant women should know?
The report suggests a simple "Don't share, wash with care" four-step approach, which midwives can communicate to childbearing women:
  • Avoid placing objects in your mouth that have been in an infant's mouth previously. So, for example, avoid sharing food, cups and utensils or sucking a child's dummy to clean it after it has been dropped.
  • Avoid kissing young children on the mouth or cheek – they suggest kissing them on the head or giving them a big hug instead.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after coming into contact with any bodily fluids. This includes after a nappy change, or after wiping a toddler's nose or mouth.
  • Thoroughly clean items that have been in contact with bodily fluids. 
The charity says that, "Whilst it is hard for busy women to avoid every potential exposure, simply improving hygiene measures can markedly reduce the risk of transmission."
Read the full article here 

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