Politics

‘Elizabeth’s law,’ named for CNY couple’s daughter, would boost CMV awareness

While people who contract the virus don’t exhibit symptoms, it can lead to other health problems in babies. The CDC says that one in five babies born with congenital CMV will have long-term health problems. 

Elizabeth Saunders was infected with CMV and had various health issues, including cerebral palsy and seizures — she died after a seizure in 2006. She also had hearing and vision problems, Jim and Lisa Saunders told The Citizen in March. 

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Lisa Saunders believes she passed the virus to her daughter. When she was pregnant, she ran a day care at her home and also volunteered in a church nursery. 

“I was a licensed childcare provider who learned all kinds of things,” Saunders said in an interview with The Citizen Tuesday. “It never told me about my occupational hazard. I didn’t learn about that until after (Elizabeth) was born. People who work in child care are at an increased risk of it.” 

CMV is recognized as a workplace hazard by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA acknowledges that childcare workers are at a greater risk of infection. The agency estimates that between 40% and 70% of childcare center employees had CMV infections. 

Saunders supports Mannion’s bill. She has been contacting various organizations urging them to endorse the legislation. 

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