LYONS — A ceremony at the Trail of Hope in Lyons June 5 paid homage to the more than 200 children in New York who contract cytomegalovirus each year.
Among those attending the ceremony was state Assemblyman Brian Manktelow, R-130 of Lyons, who read a proclamation designating June as Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month.
The event included the placing of 222 silver rocks at the Ribbon of Hope rock area, including one dedicated to Elizabeth Saunders, daughter of Lisa and Jim Saunders of Baldwinsville.
Lisa Saunders leads an effort in New York to bring more awareness to CMV, the leading viral cause of birth defects. She also is pushing legislation named for their daughter, Elizabeth’s Law, which would require childcare providers to be trained on the impacts and dangers of CMV and prevention. It would require certain physicians to provide more information about cytomegalovirus in their offices.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Pam Helming, R-54 of Canandaigua, has passed in the Senate, but is awaiting passage in the Assembly.
Manktelow has agreed to become a co-sponsor of the legislation, Lisa Saunders said.
While one in 200 babies are born with congenital CMV each year, just a few become infected. Those infected can suffer birth defects that could develop into hearing and vision loss, developmental and motor delay, microcephaly (small head) and seizures. Some babies who don’t have signs of congenital CMV infection at birth may suffer hearing loss as well, possibly later in life.
CMV can be passed to infants and young children through saliva, such as shared food, and pregnant women can pass it to their unborn children.