Daly’s story, which was also reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, is coming to light because new guidelines have just been published in a medical journal calling for greater awareness.
According to the NSW Department of Health, CMV is a type of herpes virus, and can be symptomless. However, CMV testing is recommended for pregnant women who develop an acute viral illness. You can request CMV testing from your doctor – especially if you work in a high-risk setting (such as a childcare centre) or have young children at home.
Daly's twins, William and Emmaline, are now six, and William attends a special needs school. Despite six years of weekly therapy he is still considered non-verbal.
"Sadly, another 12,000 babies were born with congenital CMV in Australia since William and Emmaline were born," Daly wrote in an essay about her children and CMV. "Three thousand of these children suffer from significant disabilities, and some of them have tragically died. The consensus recommendations published by the Lancet Infectious Diseases means there can no longer be any more excuses or delays. Stopping CMV is now a real possibility. We can't change the past, but we can help other parents by giving them an opportunity to protect their babies."
There is no vaccine against CMV. However, preventative steps include:
- Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and running water, particularly after close contact with young children, tissues or nappies.
- Do not share food, drinks or toothbrushes with young child
- Avoid kissing children on the mouth (to avoid saliva)
- The Department of Health recommends that pregnant childcare workers should take particular care to avoid CMV.
For more information visit cmv.org.au