CMV Legislation Now Enacted in Nine U.S. States
In the U.S., federal, state, and local governments have a responsibility to create conditions in which people can thrive and be healthy. In response to the health threat posed by cytomegalovirus (“CMV”), individuals and organizations in the public and private sectors have come together to introduce new laws designed to protect those most at-risk.
CMV is a common virus that can cause serious disease in newborns when a mother is infected during pregnancy. Each year, 5,000 or more U.S. infants develop permanent problems due to congenital CMV infection, some of them severe, including deafness, blindness, and mental retardation.Congenital CMV infection often goes undetected because most affected infants do not present symptoms at birth. For instance, some researchers estimate that, because of onset later in life, only about half of the hearing loss resulting from congenital CMV infection is detected by universal newborn hearing screening. As a result, much of the hearing loss and many other CMV-related disabilities remain undetected for years after birth and are never linked to congenital CMV infection, and are therefore not optimally managed.
The non-specific symptoms of CMV infection and the low levels of condition awareness (a 2012 study revealed that only 7% of men and 13% of U.S. women surveyed had heard of congenital CMV) have created a challenging landscape for CMV advocacy organizations seeking to enact legislative change.
In the U.S., the primary responsibility for implementing public health policy lies with the states. CMV advocacy organizations have worked diligently to introduce and support CMV legislation at the state level. The National CMV Foundation in particular (which in December 2015 merged with three leading CMV organizations, Maddie’s Mission, Stop CMV, and the Utah CMV Council) has led the way in consolidating support for new laws that strive to:
- Educate healthcare providers and women of childbearing age about the risks posed by congenital CMV infection, as well as prevention strategies.
- Improve CMV screening for at-risk newborns, especially newborns who fail hearing tests.
The first state law mandating CMV education and screening took effect in Utah in 2013. It requires urine or saliva tests for newborns who fail two infant hearing tests. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Pediatrics, Utah’s CMV legislation may have successfully identified cases of CMV that would otherwise have remained undetected.
In 2015, lawmakers enacted CMV laws in four U.S. states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Hawaii, and Texas. In 2016 and 2017, Tennessee, Idaho, Iowa, and Oregon enacted CMV laws, bringing the total number of states with CMV legislation to nine. The CMV laws are unique to each state, with some requiring CMV education and others requiring CMV screening, or both. The guide below offers more details about each state program.
CMV legislation has been introduced in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania. To lend your support to these new laws, contact your local legislator. The National CMV Foundation also offers a resource for persons seeking to advocate for CMV education and awareness.
Connecticut: Public Act No. 15-10
Hawaii: House Bill 782
Idaho: Senate Bill 1060
Illinois: House Bill 0184
Iowa: Senate File 51
Oregon: House Bill 2754
Tennessee: Senate Bill 2097
Texas: Senate Bill 791
Utah: House Bill 0081
Maine: Legislative Document 87
Michigan: House Bill 5607
Minnesota: HF 2653
New York: Senate Bill S2816
Pennsylvania: House Bill 746
Status: Introduced and Referred to Health Committee (3/7/2017)
Focus: CMV Education and Screening
StatusPopulation: 12,802,503Note: Legislation status is current as of June 27, 2017. Please review the status to get the most up to date information in each state.