CMV Education and Outreach Needed

Testimony of the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Pediatric Society

House Public Health Committee
Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 791 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Rep. John Zerwas
May 19, 2015

Chair Crownover and members of the committee, the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Pediatric Society are pleased to share comments on the committee substitute to Senate Bill 791 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Rep. John Zerwas. Our associations represent 48,000 physicians and medical student members who join you in your concern with ensuring parents have information and support so they can prepare and plan for a healthy birth outcome.

We recognize that while cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a very common virus, the general public is not aware of this —at least half of us will have CMV at some point by the time we are adults. Physicians have long recognized that CMV presents a special risk to women who are pregnant and to caregivers of infants because of the potential of exposure to CMV and for transmitting the virus to their fetus and infants who lack a developed immune system.

While there is no recommendation for routine testing of pregnant women for CMV, we support the education and outreach campaign outlined in the committee substitute for SB791 because it targets information for a population at higher risk of transmitting CMV. This is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that pregnant women should be informed about CMV. Both the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have already developed helpful materials and information for pregnant women as well as educational resources for physicians on CMV.

Physicians already test for CMV when there is a clinical indication or suspicion of disease. There are other indications for testing outside of a failed newborn hearing screening, and we appreciate that CSSB791 does not dictate or outline standards of care by requiring birthing centers to perform CMV testing on every newborn that fails his or her first hearing screening.

Research and development of treatment options to help those affected by CMV is ongoing. CSSB791 does not attempt to identify specific types of treatment in state law or rule, but rather provides that families be directed to available resources that can help. We recommend that this and all other information included in the brochure be updated on an annual basis for accuracy and timeliness. The Department should seek broad input from recognized medical experts and physician organizations on any disease information shared with patients.

We thank the authors for the recognized changes in this legislation. Thank you for the opportunity to provide our comments, and we look forward to working with the author and committee to advance public education on threats to children.

Last Updated On

May 20, 2016