Minnesota will be the first state to screen all newborns for CMV | KAALTV.com

Minnesota will be the first state to screen all newborns for CMV

Mackenzie Davis
Updated: June 29, 2021 05:20 PM
Created: June 29, 2021 04:54 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Minnesota is now the first state in the U.S. to provide the opportunity to determine CMV status in newborns.

Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is an infection that most people in their lifetime get without knowing they even have it.

Dr. Mark R. Schleiss, a professor in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, says that one of the biggest issues with CMV has been the major lack of knowledge and awareness. 

"It's a common, ubiquitous concern particularly in pregnancy and women don't know about it," Dr. Schleiss said.

The big goal of the Vivian Act is not only to offer funded screening to newborns but provide funding to promote the knowledge and awareness of the infection.

"This has been democracy in action. This has been moms moving this agenda forward and that was really the focus of what we tried to do here in Minnesota," Dr. Schleiss said.

350 babies in Minnesota are born every year with congenital CMV, which means the infection was acquired in the womb.

"We want to sort of have this rising tide lift all boats including knowledge and awareness among moms and women in addition to strategies to try to help the newborn baby," Dr. Schleiss said.

The answer is newborn screening. The very common window of getting CMV is really early in life. That's why the screening is done within three weeks after birth.

"If you acquire after birth in a daycare center, that's of little significance. It's the babies that get the infection before birth that are at risk for problematic hearing outcomes and developmental outcomes," Dr. Schleiss said.

Babies that attend group daycare or are around other babies that have CMV can contract it, but not every baby with CMV has lasting effects.

The passing of the legislation is just the beginning. The next step is for the advisory panel to review universal screening for CMV and to provide a recommendation. Next, the commissioner of health has to review it. This process could take several months.

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