THE Keyte family are fighting to raise awareness of a virus affecting pregnant mothers which can have devastating effects on babies.
Kelly Keyte was 37 weeks pregnant when she began to feel unwell with cold-like symptoms.
A scan revealed her baby had a large amount of water on the brain and she was told her son, Callum, now 11, had CMV.
Mrs Keyte, from Lambert Close, Waterlooville, said: ‘We had no idea what CMV was. We were left to find out for ourselves. They didn’t know what would happen and we had to “wait and see” when the baby came out. We were worried sick.’
The virus lies dormant in most people but in pregnant women it can be catastrophic – in some cases proving fatal for unborn babies.
Callum is completely deaf in his right ear, has poor eyesight, delayed physical development and mobility issues down his right-hand side.
He has severe behavioural problems and learning difficulties.
But it could have been much worse had doctors not given him a pioneering drug when he was born. It stopped the virus from progressing any further.
‘It has a different impact on every child,’ says Mrs Keyte.
‘Callum is very lucky. He walks and talks. Some children don’t and it can be devastating.
Callum is very lucky, he walks and talks. Some children don’t. Some do not survive.’Kelly Keyte
‘Some do not survive. It is one of the most common causes of miscarriages but hardly anyone knows about it.’
The main way women catch CMV is through the saliva or urine of small children.
About 1,000 babies a year are born with the virus.
Mrs Keyte, 31, and husband Marc, 39, are calling for GPs, maternity units and nurseries to make pregnant mothers aware of how to avoid catching CMV.
The advice from the charity CMV Action is that pregnant women should never share dummies, food or drinks with anyone and should always wash their hands after coming into contact with bodily fluids after changing nappies, feeding or wiping a child’s nose.
Go to cmvaction.org.uk.