Senate approves bill to increase CMV education

Posted at 11:25 AM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 15:26:37-05

A bill to increase education about cytomegalovirus (CMV) through the Idaho Dept. of Health & Welfare has been approved by the Idaho Senate.

CMV is typically a harmless cold virus but can cause permanent disabilities to an unborn child. Birth defects caused by CMV can include hearing loss, vision loss, developmental disabilities, small head size and death.

The CMV legislation aims to increase education for healthcare providers, increase public awareness, and mandate CMV testing for infants who fail their newborn hearing screens. 

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, and requests $5,000 a year in new funding go to the Dept. of Health & Welfare. 

It is estimated that 30,000 children a year are born in the U.S. with birth defects caused by CMV. About one-fourth of those children will be born with severe defects. 

The Senate approved the proposal on a 31-3 vote. 

Rep. Kelly Packer, R-McCammon, will carry the bill in the House as it heads for a vote.