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- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection facts
- What is cytomegalovirus (CMV)?
- What causes cytomegalovirus infection?
- What are the risk factors for cytomegalovirus infection?
- Is CMV contagious?
- How long is cytomegalovirus contagious?
- How is cytomegalovirus transmitted?
- What is the incubation period for cytomegalovirus?
- What are cytomegalovirus infection symptoms and signs?
- How do physicians diagnose cytomegalovirus infection?
- What is the treatment for cytomegalovirus infection?
- What is the prognosis of cytomegalovirus infection?
- What are complications of cytomegalovirus infection?
- Is it possible to prevent cytomegalovirus infection? Is there a CMV vaccine?
What is cytomegalovirus (CMV)?
Cytomegalovirus (pronounced si-to-MEG-a-lo-vi-rus), or CMV, is a virus that belongs to the herpesvirus family. Other members of the family include herpes simplex viruses (cause cold sores and genital herpes), varicella-zoster virus (causes chickenpox and shingles), and Epstein-Barr virus (causes infectious mononucleosis, also known as "mono"). This group of viruses remain dormant in the body for life. This is called "latent" infection. Infection with CMV is common and may cause fever, fatigue or tiredness, malaise, and other symptoms. CMV infection occurs in people of all ages worldwide. Experts estimate that more than half of the adult population in the United States has been infected with CMV, and 80% of adults have had the infection by the time they are 40 years old. About one in 150 children is born with CMV infection.
What causes cytomegalovirus infection?
Direct contact with body fluids from an infected person exposes an individual to CMV. Most healthy children and adults do not experience any symptoms after infection with CMV. However, CMV may cause serious disease in people with a weakened immune system (such as those with HIV/AIDS or those taking medications that suppress immunity). CMV can cause retinitis (blurred vision and blindness), painful swallowing (dysphagia), pneumonia, diarrhea (colitis), and weakness or numbness in the legs.