Pregnant women know all about staying away from sushi, not cleaning out the cat litter – but few know about this danger: sharing kisses or drinks with your own toddler.
Mother of two Katie Leveque learned this the hard way, and she is now trying to raise awareness over a Zika-like virus few have heard of: Cytomegalovirus, also known as CMV.
Similar to the Zika virus, CMV strikes unborn babies and can cause shrunken head, cerebral palsy and other lifelong consequences.
Katie discovered it first-hand when her 8-month-old son, Liam, was born affected by the disease: he has delayed development and poor muscle tone.
She soon learned that this could have been avoided if she’d known better, and sooner – and is urging pregnant women everywhere to be aware of CMV and ask their doctors to be tested.
Please read on and don’t hesitate to share this story with all the women you know!
CMV is a common virus carried by about half the adult population, but it’s extra dangerous when it’s passed on to pregnant mothers from toddlers. This can happen by simple acts such as sharing utensils with their toddlers, or kissing them on the lips.
In Katie’s case, it was contracted from sharing drinks or utensils with her toddler son, Benjamin, while she was pregnant.
“Everyone is aware and terrified of the Zika virus, when in our backyard is CMV, which is similar,” Katie says.
Unlike the Zika virus, which is extremely rare, there are about 8,000 babies born every year with CMV – 400 cases in Canada are registered as having lifelong consequences.
Now, Katie wants mothers and anyone who is child-bearing age were more aware of this common cold that is likely in your household, especially if you have toddlers.
“I would have never thought that giving him a drink of my water or sharing my fork with him would have led to something like this,” Katie says.
If you’re wondering why you’ve never even heard of CMV, that’s because the medical community is divided about whether to even inform pregnant women about it, as the vast majority – 80% – of babies born with it end up ok.
In Katie’s case, Liam was part of the unlucky 20%.
“I would hope that obstetricians, midwives, even family doctors for people who are thinking of getting pregnant would make people aware of this virus,” Katie adds.
Watch the report below for the full story:
Had you heard of CMV? Do you think doctors should more frequently warn mothers about it? Share your comments and please don’t hesitate to share Katie’s story to raise awareness about this common virus.
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