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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 1, 2021 01:11 PM
From: Senator Robert M. Tomlinson
To: All Senate members
Subject: CMV Education and Newborn Testing Act
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation which establishes the CMV Education and Newborn Testing Act to create public awareness of cytomegalovirus and provide for CMV screening for certain newborns. 

CMV is the most common viral infection that infants are born with in the United States. It is also the leading, non-genetic, cause of childhood hearing loss, and an important cause of birth defects.  Every pregnant woman is at risk of acquiring CMV and only about 9 percent of women know about it.  CMV is common, serious and preventable.  Of babies born with CMV, 1 in 5 will develop permanent problems such as hearing loss, vision loss, or developmental disabilities and an estimated 400 will die per year in the United States. 

There are simple prevention measures that a pregnant woman can take to reduce the transmission of CMV. 
Given the potential severity of this virus, ensuring access to education and testing is critical.  Approximately 90 percent of babies affected by CMV appear to be asymptomatic at birth.  If a baby fails their newborn hearing screen or it comes back abnormal, there are still many hospitals that do not immediately test for CMV.  The delay in testing means that many babies miss a critical window of time (the first 6 months of life) to receive an antiviral medication that can help to save their hearing and lessen other potential developmental delays.

I invite you to cosponsor this important piece of legislation to protect children from this common, devastating, unknown virus.

Introduced as SB709