In this health video learn how a common virus is infecting unborn babies, causing deafness and even mental retardation. A new vaccine could one day keep these babies safe.
Jennifer Mathews: Delilah Page can keep up with her older brother and sister just fine but her mom didn’t know what to expect when Delilah was born deaf two years ago. Rachel Page: Here we have this beautiful, beautiful little infant and we don’t know what’s going to happen. Jennifer Mathews: when Rachel was pregnant, she contracted CMV or cytomegalovirus. She passed the virus onto Delilah. Rachel Page: It happened when she was inside my body so then I blame to myself. Jennifer Mathews: Doctor Mark Schleiss says, about 40,000 babies are born in the US each year with CMV. Mark Schleiss: There is no question about -- public how significant of this. I mean, it might truly be characterized as a national epidemic. Jennifer Mathews: Almost all babies born with CMV suffer hearing loss of mental retardation. After 15 years of research, Doctor Schleiss and his colleagues have developed a vaccine they hope will wipe out the virus. Mark Schleiss: Vaccines are without question the single most cost effective and life saving invention that’s ever been described in medicine. Jennifer Mathews: In animals, the virus stop the virus from being transmitted from mother to child by training the body’s immune system to detect and detach it. Researches hope it’ll do the same in humans. Delilah is getting a long okay with the help of clear influence and sign language. A vaccine wouldn’t help her but it mat help other like her in future. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.