Cruz raises awareness about little-known virus that can be deadly for Pennsylvania’s children

HARRISBURG, June 5 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., is commending colleagues for supporting his efforts to raise awareness about a little-known but common virus that can be deadly for Pennsylvania’s children.

“Cytomegalovirus causes a higher number of long-term health problems and childhood deaths compared to more well-known conditions, such as Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome and spina bifida,” Cruz said. “Hundreds of babies born with the illness end up losing their battle, while thousands of others develop permanent problems, such as vision or hearing loss and developmental disabilities.”

Because it can be passed down from a mother to her unborn child, the virus is considered the most common congenital infection in the United States.

“By adopting my House resolution to make June 2018 CMV Awareness Month (H.R. 898), we are sounding the alarm about the warning signs while raising red flags that it can be caught with early testing, which is exactly what I’m fighting for through separate legislation,” Cruz explained.

His bill (H.B. 746) would require infants who fail their newborn hearing screening or by request of their parent or guardian to be tested for CMV.  

While children are at risk, the virus also infects people of all ages, with most adults showing moderate to no symptoms, but who are still forced to deal with the illness for the rest of their lives.