Cytomegalovirus (CMV) (cont.)
MaryAnn P. Tran, MD
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.
In this Article
What is the prognosis of cytomegalovirus infection?
Most healthy children and adults will recover without any complications. Fatigue may last for several months after the acute infection is over. Prognosis depends on how severe the CMV infection is and the person's underlying disease. Giving antiviral medication in people who have a very weak immune system, such as bone marrow transplant recipients, improves prognosis.
Approximately 80% of infants with congenital CMV infection grow up healthy without complications and do not need treatment with antiviral medication. However, one in five infants born with CMV infection will have permanent hearing loss and developmental disabilities. Children diagnosed with congenital CMV infection should have regular vision and hearing screenings, because early detection can improve outcomes.
What are complications of cytomegalovirus infection?
CMV rarely causes complications in healthy people. The risk of complications is higher in individuals with weakened immune systems. CMV can infect the intestines, causing fever, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, and inflammation of the colon (colitis). Inflammation can also occur in the liver (hepatitis), lung (pneumonitis), and brain (encephalitis). Infection in the eye (retinitis) can cause blindness. Newborns with congenital CMV infection can develop hearing and vision loss, mental disability, and seizures.
Is it possible to prevent cytomegalovirus infection? Is there a CMV vaccine?
Because CMV is a common virus, it is not always possible to prevent infection. Pregnant women should avoid exposure to CMV to prevent congenital CMV infection. Steps to reduce the risk of CMV infection include the following:
There is no available vaccine for preventing congenital CMV infection or CMV disease in individuals with suppressed immune systems. However, researchers are studying experimental vaccines in humans. It may be a number of years before there is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved CMV vaccine.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/7/2015
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