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Eye On Boise

Bill to raise awareness of birth defect-causing virus heads to gov’s desk

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation to increase awareness about a virus that is one of the leading causes of birth defects and a threat to patients with impaired immune systems is headed to the governor's desk. The Idaho House voted 59-10 on Thursday to allocate $15,000 to distribute information to schools, child care providers and other programs on how to prevent the virus and the potential birth defects it causes. That cleared the proposal to send it to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for his signature. Supporters say the goal is to increase education about the virus to prevent the infection of babies in utero.

Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a common virus of the herpes family that infects people of all ages, and typically causes only mild, cold-like symptoms or no symptoms. But it can be devastating to fetuses, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, causing permanent disabilities including hearing and vision loss, developmental and intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, small head size, seizures and death. SB 1060 earlier passed the Senate on a 31-3 vote.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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