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WHEREAS, hydrocephalus is a condition that has no cure, with the primary characteristic being an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain resulting in abnormal widening of ventricles in the brain, causing harmful pressure that can be fatal if untreated; and
WHEREAS, there are two primary types of hydrocephalus: congenital, which is present at birth and may be caused by either genetic abnormalities or events or influences that occur during fetal development, and acquired, which develops at the time of birth or some point afterward, affects individuals of all ages, and may be caused by an injury or disease; and
WHEREAS, two other forms of hydrocephalus, which primarily affect adults, are: ex-vacuo, which occurs when stroke or traumatic injury cause damage to the brain, and normal pressure hydrocephalus, which can happen to individuals at any age, but it is most common among the elderly, and often the cause is unknown; and
WHEREAS, experts estimate that hydrocephalus affects approximately one million Americans, and roughly one out of every 1,000 babies are born with hydrocephalus; and
WHEREAS, currently, the only treatment for hydrocephalus is the surgical insertion of a shunt system that diverts the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to another area of the body where it can join the normal circulatory process; and
WHEREAS, affected individuals and their families should be aware that hydrocephalus poses risks to both cognitive and physical development and often requires repeated brain surgeries over a lifetime; however, children diagnosed with the disorder benefit from early intervention programs, rehabilitation therapies and educational interventions and many go on to lead lives with few limitations; and
WHEREAS, in 2009, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution designating the month of September as National Hydrocephalus Awareness Month; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth joins the Virginia Hydrocephalus Association and the National Hydrocephalus Association in conjunction with leaders from professional, community, and medical-based organizations, in increasing public awareness of hydrocephalus and the needs of families, resulting in better health for all individuals;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 2019 as HYDROCEPHALUS AWARENESS MONTH and September 1, 2019, as HYDROCEPHALUS AWARENESS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.