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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?
- What specialists treat cytomegalovirus infections?
- 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.
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.