Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection

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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection facts

  • CMV is a common virus (herpes virus family) and can infect anyone.
  • CMV is spread by direct contact of body fluids such as saliva, blood, urine, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.
  • Most healthy people do not experience any symptoms when infected with CMV. However, in those with a weakened immune system, CMV can cause serious disease (blindness, hepatitis, or encephalitis, for example).
  • As CMV spreads easily via any body fluid, breastfeeding, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and sexual contact are possible modes of transmission.
  • Infants born to mothers infected with CMV during pregnancy may develop congenital CMV infection.
  • Most healthy children and adults will recover from CMV infection without complications and do not require antiviral treatment.
  • Health-care professionals diagnose CMV infections by culturing the virus from the infected individual or detecting antibodies CMV.
  • Immunosuppressed individuals can develop CMV pneumonia, hepatitis, encephalitis, retinitis, seizures, and other problems.
  • Antiviral treatments may improve the prognosis in some patients.
  • There is no commercially available CMV vaccine.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014

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HIV Infection Symptoms and Signs and CMV

Typically after years of infection with the virus, symptoms begin to appear that reflect a decreasing immune function due to a decline in the number of CD4 T cells. Some of the opportunistic infections that can occur are cytomegalovirus infection, cryptococcal meningitis, Cryptosporidium diarrhea, Pneumocystic jiroveci pneumonia (previously called Pneumocystic carinii pneumonia or PCP), Toxoplasma encephalitis, tuberculosis, and herpesvirus infections.