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Awareness Post #2

Congenital Cytomegalovirus

  • Babies born with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection have what is known as congenital CMV infection
  • Congenital means present at birth
  • Only about 1 in 5 babies with congenital CMV infection will be sick from the virus or have long-term health problems

Background Information:  CMV Infection –

  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Common virus infecting people of any age
  • In the U.S. – nearly 1 in 4 children are already infected with CMV by age 5
  • Over 1/2 of adults by age 40 have been infected
  • Once CMV is in the body, it stays there for life and can reactivate at any time
  • A person can also be re-infected by a different strain (variety)
  • Most infected people show no symptoms
  • Can cause mild illness – fever, sore throat, fatigue, swollen glands
  • Occasionally can cause Mono or Hepatitis
  • People with CMV can pass (shed) the virus in body fluids – urine, saliva, blood, tears, semen, & breast milk

Transmission To a Baby:

  • Women can pass CMV to their baby during pregnancy
  • The virus in the woman’s blood can cross through the placenta and affect the baby
  • This can happen when a pregnant woman experiences a first-time infection, a re-infection with a different CMV strain, or a re-activation of previous infection during her pregnancy

Signs and Symptoms of Congenital CMV Infection:

Sometimes there are signs of CMV at birth –

  • Premature birth
  • Liver, lung, and spleen problems
  • Small birth size
  • Small head size
  • Seizures

Some babies with signs of congenital CMV at birth may have long-term health problems –

  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Intellectual disability
  • Small head size
  • Lack of coordination
  • Weakness or problems using muscles
  • Seizures

Diagnosis of Congenital CMV:

  • Can be diagnosed by testing a newborn baby’s saliva, urine, or blood
  • Must be collected for testing within 2-3 weeks after birth to confirm congenital diagnosis

Treatment and Management:

  • Antivirals (type of medications) may decrease the risk of health problems – but if no signs of CMV at birth – it is not recommended to treat with those medicines
  • Babies with congenital CMV infection, with or without signs at birth, should have regular hearing checks
  • If your baby has a congenital CMV infection diagnosis at birth, regularly follow up with their doctor to discuss care and additional resources

The Importance of Health Observance and Awareness

Health Observance months and weeks are meant to bring awareness to all sorts of various illness, disease, and otherwise important health related topics.  Sometime you may know exactly what the disease is and what it entails, but at other times you may have no idea what it pertains to or how and who it affects.

That is when health awareness campaigns really come into the forefront — spreading knowledge of the not so well-known — that just may one day touch the life of you or someone you know.  Let’s be informed, let’s take the initiative to learn about new, pertinent health topics.

Take the following as an example:

Myasthenia gravis

What Is Myasthenia Gravis (MG)?

It is a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that affects voluntary muscles

What Are Some Common Symptoms of MG?

  • drooping eyelid
  • blurred or double vision
  • slurred speech
  • difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • arm and leg weakness
  • chronic muscle fatigue
  • difficulty breathing

*Weakness tends to increase with continued activity and can be improved with periods of rest.

*Not everyone will display all symptoms and symptoms can fluctuate.

*Symptoms can change from day to day – even hour to hour.  MG affects each sufferer so differently that sometimes it is called the “SNOWFLAKE DISEASE”.

Is There Special Testing to Diagnose MG?

A diagnosis can be confirmed in several ways including:

  • Acetylcholine Receptor Antibody
    • A blood test for abnormal antibodies to see if they are present
    • 85% of MG patients have this antibody
    • When detected with an elevated concentration, the AChR antibody test is strongly indicative of MG
  • Anti-Mu SK Antibody Testing
    • Blood test for the remaining 15% of MG patients who tested negative for the acetylcholine antibody
    • These patients have seronegative (SN) MG
    • About 40% with SNMG test (+) for the anti-Mu SK antibody
    • Remaining patients have unidentified antibodies causing their MG
  • Office Tests – performed by specialists to evaluate an improvement in strength that may be consistent with MG
    • Sleep Tests
    • Ice Pack Tests
    • Endrophonium Tests
  • Electromyography (EMG) – studies can provide support for the diagnosis of MG when characteristic patterns are present
    • Repetitive Nerve Stimulation is used
  • Single Fiber EMG – single fiber EMG and AChR antibody tests are primary tests used to confirm a clinical diagnosis of MG

*Sometimes all of these tests are (-) in someone who seems to have classic signs pointing toward MG.  A clinician skilled in recognizing, determining, and diagnosing MG would need to confirm diagnosis in such cases.

How Is MG Treated?

The goal of MG treatment is to:

  • Remove antibodies
  • Reduce antibodies
  • Inhibit the binding process of antibodies through various medications and various treatments

Is There A Cure For MG?

  • There is no known cure
  • Effective treatments allow many MG patients to lead full lives
  • Common treatment includes medications like:
    • Mestinon
    • prednisone
    • cellcept
    • imuran
    • cyclosporine
  • Other treatments include:
    • thymectomy
    • plasmapheresis
    • intravenous immunoglobin (IVIg) infusions

*Spontaneous improvement and even remission may occur without specific therapy.

*Rest and a well-balanced diet can help.

General Facts:

  • Approximately 20 out of 100,000 individuals in the US have been diagnosed with MG
  • It is considered undiagnosed in many cases, and prevalence is thought to actually be much higher
  • Most common age at onset for women is the 20s and 30s, while for men it is the 70s and 80s
  • Males are more often affected than females with onset usually after age 50
  • MG is not believed to be hereditary or contagious
  • There is a 12-20% incidence of neonatal myasthenia gravis in infants born to mothers with MG – in infants it is a temporary condition of general weakness that usually passes in a few weeks


FAST – A Way To Save A Life

FAST is an easy way to remember and identify the MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS of a stroke.

Use FAST to Remember The Warning signs of a Stroke:

FACE:  Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS:  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH:  Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.  Is their speech slurred or strange?

TIME:  If you observe ANY of these signs, call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.

Preventing A Stroke:

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of having a stroke

Lifestyle Risk Factors –

  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Tobacco Use & Smoking
  • Alcohol Use

Medial Risk Factors –

  • High Blood Pressure – #1 cause of stroke
  • Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) – type of irregular heartbeat
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes – Up to 4X more likely to have a stroke – mainly because they usually also have other risk factors
  • Circulation Problems
  • Carotid Artery Disease (also Carotid Artery Stenosis) – narrowing of carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain

Uncontrollable Risk Factors-

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Family History
  • Previous Stroke
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) – A disorder where some of the arteries that carry blood throughout the body do not develop as they should.  Fibrous tissue grows in the wall of the arteries causing them to narrow.  As a result, blood flow through the arteries deceases.
  • Patient Foramen Ovale (PFO) – A “hole” in the heart which about 1 in 5 Americans have.  PFOs often have no symptoms and many are not aware that they have this medical condition – putting them at increased risk for stroke and TIA.  Many PFO-related strokes are called cryptogenic – meaning they have no apparent cause.
  • TIA

Myths & Facts – Stroke

The Myths & Facts about STROKE –

Fact:  Up to 80% of strokes are preventable.

Myth:  Stroke cannot be prevented.

Fact:  At ANY sign of stroke call 9-1-1 immediately.  Treatment may be available.

Myth:  There is no treatment for stroke.

Fact:  Stroke can happen to anyone at anytime.

Myth:  Stroke ONLY affects the ELDERLY.

Fact:  Stroke is a “brain attack”.

Myth:  Stroke happens in the heart.

Fact:  Stroke recovery is a LIFELONG process.

Myth:  Stroke recovery only happens for the first few months after a stroke.

Fact:  There are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the U.S.  Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Myth:  Strokes are rare.

Fact:  Family history of stroke increases your chance for stroke.

Myth:  Strokes are not hereditary.

Fact:  Temporary stroke symptoms are called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).  They are WARNING signs prior to an actual stroke, and need to be taken seriously.

Myth:  If stroke symptoms go away, you don’t need to see a doctor.

Stroke Awareness

Everyone has heard of STROKE, but do you really know WHAT it is, and that there are DIFFERENT TYPES?  Do you know how to RECOGNIZE Stroke by it’s signs and symptoms?  Do you know what FAST stands for, and how it can SAVE YOUR, OR ANOTHER PERSON’S, LIFE?

Understanding Stroke:

  • 5th leading cause of death in America
  • A leading cause of adult disability
  • Too few people know what a STROKE is and how to RECOGNIZE when it is happening

What Is A Stroke?

  • A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen at any time.
  • It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off.
  • It results in brain cells being deprived of oxygen – causing cell death.
  • With the death of those cells, abilities controlled by that area of the brain – such as memory and muscle control – are lost.
  • A stroke can also cause permanent loss of speech.

What Are the Types of Strokes?

Hemorrhagic, Ischemic, and the WARNING – TIA

Hemorrhagic Stroke:

  • Less common
  • Only 15% of all strokes are hemorrhagic
  • BUT, they are responsible for about 40%of all stroke deaths

A hemorrhagic stroke is either –

  1. a brain aneurysm that burst
  2. a weakened blood vessel leak
  • Blood spills into or around the brain
  • Swelling and pressure are created
  • Cells and tissue in the brain are damaged

Ischemic Stroke:

  • Occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot causing blood to not reach the brain
  • High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for this type of stroke
  • Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes

An ischemic stroke can occur in two ways –

  1. Embolic – a blood clot or plaque fragment forms somewhere in the body (usually heart) and travels to the brain
  2. Thrombotic – a blood clot forms inside one of the arteries supplying blood to the brain


  • Transient Ischemic Attack
  • Blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short time period – can mimic stroke-like symptoms
  • Symptoms appear and last less than 24 hours before disappearing
  • Generally do not cause permanent brain damage
  • They are a SERIOUS WARNING SIGN that a stroke may happen in the future – IT SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED!

How Do You Recognize a Stroke?

  • Each year about 185,000 people die from a stroke.
  • For each minute a stroke goes untreated and blood flow to the brain continues to be blocked, a person loses about 1.9 million neurons.
  • Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke is the first step to ensuring medical help is received immediately.

Signs & Symptoms of Stroke:

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg – especially on one side of the body
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you observe any of the above symptoms!!

National Nurses Week: May 6-12


  • The American Nurses Association has designated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse”
  • This year’s theme is “Nursing:  the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit”
  • Let’s celebrate all of our nurses who lead the charge for health and wellness

“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”

The below modified “Hippocratic Oath” was composed in 1893 by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and a committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit, MI.  It was called the Florence Nightengale Pledge as a token of esteem for the founder of modern nursing.

Florence Nightengale Pledge:

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.  I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.  I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.  With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”