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.

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.

Most women (about 30% of cases) who have infants infected with CMV before birth pass it to the baby when their past infection with CMV "reactivates" (or becomes active in the blood) during pregnancy. Only about 1%-7% women are infected for the first time with CMV (primary CMV) during pregnancy, but 30%-40% of those will pass it on to the baby (congenital CMV). Congenital CMV causes more complications the earlier in pregnancy that the infection is passed from the mother, and about 10%-15% of babies with it will have symptoms at birth, and up to 60% of these will have serious complications later in life. Of babies born without symptoms of CMV, some may develop deafness in the months after birth. Although infections are the minority of causes of miscarriage or pregnancy loss, CMV is the leading infection to cause miscarriages.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/2/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors