“Half the people in the committee were crying by the time it was over.”

Mankato D.F.L. State Representative Jack Considine.

Mankato State Representative Jack Considine is a member of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, and he’s talking about testimony from parents and others concerning birth defects caused by a common virus that affects around one in every 150 babies born each year.

Cytomegalovirus is the most common congenital viral infection in the United States and Considine said he learned that, “It’s actually fairly common and the consequences can be devastating.”

The CDC statistics show that about one in five babies with congenital CMV infection will have symptoms or long-term health problems such as hearing loss, vision loss, intellectual disability, small head size, lack of coordination, weakness or problems using muscles and seizures.

Considine urged women in their childbearing years to, “Please, if you are pregnant go out and get tested for this because early detection and a start of an antiviral for your baby would be really key in mitigating problems with it.”

House lawmakers are considering the Vivian Act, which promotes education, awareness and early detection of congenital CMV.

The bill is named for Vivian Henrikson, a three-year old born with congenital CMV who developed cerebral palsy and deafness.