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Cytomegalovirus or CMV is a dangerous virus more common than zika. But there are steps you can take right now to reduce your risk. 

You would never know nearly two-year-old Covie Fay was born with a dangerous virus. 

Crystal Wade, Covie’s mother says, “I only saw her for about ten seconds and they rushed her into the intensive care nursery.” 

Covie had been infected with CMV. 

Wade says, “It’s terrifying, absolutely terrifying.” 

Dr. Sallie Permar, Duke University says, “CMV is transmitted by close contact with bodily secretions.”

Most people are asymptomatic, so mom may not even know she has the virus; posing a serious risk to her unborn baby.

Dr. Permar says, “It can cause the same syndrome as zika virus; the microcephaly, severe brain damage, hearing loss … in fact, it’s been estimated to be the cause of 25 percent of childhood hearing loss.” 

Pregnant women can pick up the virus simply by changing a diaper. 

Dr. Permar says, “So toddlers like to share their saliva, and we change their diapers. And they, when infected, can shed the virus very easily in those fluids.” 

Researchers at Duke University wanted to know how they could better protect moms and their babies from CMV. Dr. Permar and her team have successfully tested a c-m-v vaccine in animals. There’s currently a simple way to test infants using a cotton swab to gather saliva.

Covie was tested and diagnosed at birth. She was given antivirals right away. Her mom believes that’s what saved her child.

Wade says, “Now she’s running around, she’s climbing on anything and everything.” 

With hope that one day all babies will be tested for CMV.

Currently, more than a dozen states have enacted legislation mandating CMV testing for children who fail their hearing screening. The CMV vaccine is now moving on to human trials.

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