1. ITV Report

Family calls for more research into little-known virus that causes range of serious health problems

Grayson with his mother. Credit: ITV News

A North East family is calling for more research into a little-known infection which has left their three-month-old baby with a series of life-limiting conditions.

Grayson McCreton contracted Cytomegalovirus - also known as CMV - while he was still in the womb.

Grayson has been left with several serious health problems because of the virus. Credit: ITV News

CMV is relatively harmless in children and adults. However, it can be devastating when passed on from a mother to her unborn child.

In a similar way to a coldsore virus, around 80% of people have it without realising as it lays dormant in the body.

Grayson's grandfather Ben said the family were taking each day as it comes. Credit: ITV News

Ben McCreton, Grayson's grandfather, said the virus had left Grayson with a number of health ailments.

Mr McCreton said: "He had kidney failure, heart failure, lung failure, he's had bleeds on the brain, cysts on the brain, low platelets, suppressed bone marrow, seizures.

"Going forward we don't know what it's going to be like but we'll take every day as it comes."

According to campaign group CMV Action, there are currently 2,700 families affected by CMV in the North East.

Some of its harmful impacts include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Hearing loss
  • Long-term disabilities

Children are the most common carriers of the virus and the infection is said to be easily spread. Pregnant women are most at risk.

Dr Rohit Kumar spoke of the importance of sanitation after handling babies and small children. Credit: ITV News

Dr Rohit Kumar, a consultant neurologist, said that care had to be taken when handling or cleaning children.

He said: "Children are the commonest carriers of this virus. It's in their saliva and in their urine.

"If you're feeding a child, you're wiping their nose, changing their nappy, you're coming into contact with that saliva and that urine so make sure that you wash your hands with soap and water after you've done anything of what you would normally do for a child's care."

Caroline Star from the CMV Action Group said families wanted more research into the little-known virus. Credit: ITV News

Caroline Star, from the CMV Action Group, said that families wanted three things to happen.

She said: "They want to see all pregnant women given risk reduction advice, they want to see more babies diagnosed and treated and they want to see more research into prevention and treatment options."

The doctors treating Grayson say he is a fighter and it's hoped he will be allowed to go home with his family next week.

For more information on cytomegalovirus - or CMV - visit the CMV Action website.