HARRISBURG – Newborn children in PA would be impacted by legislation expected to be considered this fall in the state Senate. Cytomegalovirus or CMV is the most common viral infection that infants are born with in the United States. It is also the leading non-genetic cause of childhood hearing loss and a cause of birth defects. Mercer County Sen. Michele Brooks, who chairs the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, said Senate Bill 709 requires infants to be screened for CMV before they are 21 days old if the infant fails a hearing screening or if the parents request a screening. About 90% of babies affected by CMV appear to be asymptomatic at birth.There are many hospitals that do not immediately test for CMV. The delay in testing means that many babies miss a critical window of time to receive antiviral medication that can help to save their hearing and lessen other potential developmental delays. The measure awaits approval by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SEN. MICHELE BROOKS