FALMOUTH, Maine (AP) — Maine might begin mandating screening for a virus to try to protect the hearing and health of newborns in the state.
A bill introduced on Wednesday would require screening for cytomegalovirus, which is also known as CMV. Bill sponsor Sen. Cathy Breen, a Falmouth Democrat, said the screening would be required for all newborns in the state who fail two hearing tests.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that one out of five babies with congenital cytomegalovirus will have symptoms or long-term health problems, such as hearing loss. Supporters of Breen’s bill said in a statement that one out of every 200 babies is born with CMV.
Other problems associated with the virus include developmental delay, vision loss and seizures.
Breen said the goal of the proposal is “to decrease the number of Maine children who are living with the significant health impacts of being exposed to CMV in utero.” The bill is expected to go before a committee for a work session in the coming weeks.
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