Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection

  • Medical Author:

    Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP is a U.S. board-certified Infectious Disease subspecialist. Dr. Gompf received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, and a Medical Degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Gompf completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida followed by subspecialty fellowship training there in Infectious Diseases under the directorship of Dr. John T. Sinnott, IV.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

HIV/AIDS Myths and Facts

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.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection facts

  • CMV is a common virus in the same family as herpesvirus, and it can infect anyone.
  • CMV is spread by direct contact of body fluids, such as saliva, blood, urine, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. Thus breastfeeding, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and sexual contact are possible modes of transmission.
  • Most healthy people do not experience any symptoms when infected with CMV, and it does not pose a serious health concern. A majority of adults have antibodies consistent with past infection.
  • Most healthy children and adults who do have symptoms will recover from CMV infection without complications and do not require antiviral treatment.
  • However, in those with a weakened immune system, CMV can cause serious disease (retinitis, hepatitis, colitis, pneumonia, or encephalitis).
  • Infants born to mothers infected with CMV during pregnancy may develop congenital CMV infection.
  • Health-care professionals diagnose CMV infections by culturing the virus, detecting CMV DNA from the infected individual, or detecting CMV antibodies.
  • Antiviral treatments may improve the prognosis in some patients.
  • There is no commercially available CMV vaccine. Experimental vaccines are being studied.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2015

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