LAWTON, Okla._June has been named Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month for the Lawton and Comanche County.
It is naturally acquired in the environment, and while most people have been exposed to it at some point in their life, if a woman is exposed to it for the first time while she's pregnant, it can hinder fetal development and cause birth defects. That's why there's a walk/run scheduled for this weekend to raise awareness for CMV.
Cara Gluck and her family have personally experienced the effects cytomegalovirus can have on a fetus.
"He is an amazing little man," Gluck said about her 2-year-old son, Parker.
Parker was exposed to CMV in utero and has only mild side effects of the virus.
"He does have cerebral palsy, but cognitively we're very lucky that he doesn't have any cognitive delay," said Gluck.
Daycare settings are the most prone to spreading the virus and likely where her daughter caught it, thereby passing it along to her.
"About 50 to 70 percent of children in daycare settings, at any given time, have CMV and are spreading CMV, you just don't know because they're healthy children," explained Gluck.
She says she is passionate about CMV because it can be prevented and she wants other mothers to know how.
"The very basic thing is just hand washing. However, if a woman is around young children, making sure that we're not sharing utensils, not sharing drinks, not sharing food, not putting a pacifier in her mouth," said Gluck.
She says these behavior changes would only have to be made while the mother is pregnant.
"They need to be talking to their OBs about it, they need to be asking them about the virus and asking to be screened," said Gluck.
Parker, she says, while somewhat limited physically, has nothing standing in his way.
Gluck says one of Parker's personal goals is to be able to run, which sparked the idea for this weekend's event.