It's affecting more babies than the Zika Virus, but doesn't get mentioned nearly as often--every year, up to 40,000 infants are born with the Cytomegalo virus, or CMV.
These babies show a lack of coordination, have hearing and vision problems, and abnormally small heads. It's similar to Zika, but CMV can be airborne, making it even "easier to catch."
Like the Zika Virus, CMV shows little to no symptoms in adults, but can be devastating to a fetus. According to the National CMV Foundation, 400 children die from the virus every single year.
One of those children is Tay Glieden who passed away three months ago. He was born deaf and visually impaired, later testing positive for the Sytoemegalow Virus. A virus, neurologist Anastasia Luniova says more than half of adults younger than 40 are infected with. Once a person contracts the virus, it's there forever, re-activating at times, but rarely do people feel sick. However, CMV causes serious problems for babies if they're infected prior to birth.
According to the Organization of Teratology Information Service, a pregnant woman who contracts CMV during pregnancy will transmit the virus to her fetus roughly 30 to 50 percent of the time.
Like other viruses, CMV is transmitted through bodily fluids like saliva, mucus, and blood. That's why it's important pregnant women not share food, drinks or kisses with children under 6.
Anastasia Luniova, a physician pediatric neurologist, says "there's no medication. There's no vaccines that could prevent that from happening, but a very simple measure anyone can take is washing hands. A closed environment with a lot of people gathering together increases the risk of contracting any virus or other illnesses. CMV is one of those viruses that is very common, especially in children."
3-year-old Tay lived longer than expected, but not enough. Passing away August 14th of 2016. Blood tests can be used to diagnose CMV, but right now, doctosr are not required to test pregnant women for the virus. Glieden is hoping lawmakers will soon make that change.