Through CMV awareness programs, Stop CMV works with media and health care professionals to ensure that CMV prevention information reaches all women of childbearing age.
National Congenital CMV Awareness Month - The month of June is designated as National Congenital CMV Awareness Month in the United States and, each June, we seek to raise public awareness about CMV and congenital CMV, educating communities and individuals about how to prevent congenital CMV.
Hands to Stop CMV/”Handraising” - The concept of “Handraising” was born during the first Hands to Stop CMV Awareness Campaign, with the focus of collecting as many photographs possible of people with "Stop CMV" written on their hand. “Handraising” increases our global community dedicated to raising awareness of congenital CMV while impacting millions of lives worldwide.
Internet CMV Prevention PSAs - Stop CMV’s informational and prevention messages reach millions of internet users each year, delivering targeted health and prevention messages about CMV and congenital CMV and creating awareness of CMV as a credible public health issue.
Awareness Publications - Stop CMV provides awareness publications in over 15 languages, detailing CMV facts and statistics, as well as clinically recommended prevention techniques.
- Why CMV Awareness Matters
More children have disabilities due to congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus) than other well-known infections and syndromes, including Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and Pediatric HIV/AIDS. A 2008 study of women in the United States found that only 14% had heard of CMV. An earlier study in 2006 found that 22% of women in the United States had heard of CMV, compared with 97% who had heard of Down Syndrome and 98% who had heard of HIV/AIDS. CMV prevention and treatment during pregnancy can prevent birth defects and developmental disabilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMV is the most common congenital (present at birth) viral infection in the United States. 1 in 150 children is born infected with congenital CMV. Each year, 30,000 children are born with congenital CMV causing 400 deaths and leaving 8,000 children with permanent disabilities such as deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities, and seizures.
In the United States, about 50 to 60% of women are at risk for contracting CMV infection during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the CDC recommend that OB/GYNs counsel women on basic prevention measures to guard against CMV infection. But according to a 2007 survey, fewer than half (44%) of OB/GYNs reported counseling their patients about preventing CMV. This could be due to the perceived rarity of congenital CMV cases, the lack of congenital CMV diagnoses within their practice, or just a simple oversight.
Stop CMV understands how difficult it may be to adjust one's daily routine while pregnant, especially for mothers and those women who work as child care providers, daycare workers, nurses, teachers, and therapists. However, it is important for these messages to be communicated to pregnant women and those planning future pregnancies in order to inform and empower them to take a more active role in their personal hygiene and healthcare decisions.