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

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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2015

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