When Kate Daly was pregnant with twins she worried about the normal things mums worry about.
How to cope with two new babies, the lack of sleep, juggling life with four kids under the ages of four-and-a-half.
Her pregnancy was normal, she was fit and healthy.
So she never expected this.
Her twins born November 2011 both affected by a common virus.
Kate and her family. Image supplied.
One devastatingly so.
A virus so common in fact that half the population have been infected by adulthood and more than three quarters of people by the age of 40.
A virus that Kate herself contracted while she was pregnant and passed it unknowingly to her twins.
A virus that left her baby boy William with multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy and severe dyspraxia - and Kate didn’t even realise he had it until he failed an infant hearing test at three weeks old.
A virus that most of us have hardly ever heard of, have got a high chance of getting and is preventable.
Kate Daly and her son William. Image supplied.
Have you heard of Cytomegalovirus or CMV?
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the leading infectious cause of congenital malformation in Australian babies. One out of every three pregnant women who become infected with CMV will pass the virus to their unborn child
It is estimated that one to two babies a day are born with permanent disabilities of a varying degree from CMV and at least 5 % of stillbirths are caused by the virus.
And yet the majority of pregnant women haven’t even heard of it.
For Kate Daly, a mother of four from Sydney, the diagnosis that her babies had been infected by CMV was devastating.
“The last few years have been the hardest years of my life,” Kate told Mamamia.
“The while family has had to adjust, not just to the day to day care of William but for William’s sisters, for a life with a mother caring for a disabled son and to life with a little brother who simply doesn’t understand.”
William has come a long way but Kate says he is like a 2-year-old in a 5-year-old's body. See him in this home video. Post continues below.
She says she think she was infected with CMV around the end of her pregnancy but she never really had any symptoms except a mild sore throat and a slight fever.
Until her son William - now aged 5- was diagnosed she, like most pregnant women had never heard of it.
William as a baby.Image supplied.
Professor William Rawlinson, NSW Health Pathology and Senior Medical Virologist tells Mamamia that CMV is more common that Down Syndrome, more common than HIV, more common than fetal alcohol syndrome, more common than rubella and toxoplasmosis and yet virtually unheard of.