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Condition

Cytomegalovirus Infection

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a disease caused by a type of herpes virus.

What are the alternative names for Cytomegalovirus Infection?

CMV mononucleosis; Cytomegalovirus; CMV; Human cytomegalovirus; HCMV

What are the causes for Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Infection with CMV is very common. The infection is spread by:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Organ transplants
  • Respiratory droplets
  • Saliva
  • Sexual contact
  • Urine
  • Tears

Most people come into contact with CMV in their lifetime. But usually, it's people with a weakened immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS, who become ill from CMV infection. Some otherwise healthy people with CMV infection develop a mononucleosis-like syndrome.

CMV is a type of herpes virus. All herpes viruses remain in your body for the rest of your life after infection. If your immune system becomes weakened in the future, this virus may have the chance to reactivate, causing symptoms.

What are the symptoms for Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Many people are exposed to CMV early in life, but do not realize it because they have no symptoms, or they have mild symptoms that resemble the common cold. These may include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the neck
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malaise
  • Muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Sore throat

CMV can cause infections in different parts of the body. Symptoms vary depending on the area that is affected. Examples of body areas that can be infected by CMV are:

  • The lungs
  • The stomach or intestine
  • The back of the eye (retina)
  • A baby while still in the womb (congenital CMV)

What are the current treatments for Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Most people recover in 4 to 6 weeks without medicine. Rest is needed, sometimes for a month or longer to regain full activity levels. Painkillers and warm salt-water gargles can help relieve symptoms.

Antiviral medicines are usually not used in people with healthy immune function.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Outcome is good with treatment. The symptoms may be relieved in a few weeks to months.

What are the possible complications for Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Throat infection is the most common complication. Rare complications include:

  • Colitis
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Nervous system (neurologic) complications
  • Pericarditis or myocarditis
  • Pneumonia
  • Rupture of the spleen
  • Inflammation of liver (hepatitis)

When should I contact a medical professional for Cytomegalovirus Infection?

Call for an appointment with your provider if you have symptoms of CMV infection.

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have sharp, severe sudden pain in your left upper abdomen. This could be a sign of a ruptured spleen, which may require emergency surgery.

How do I prevent Cytomegalovirus Infection?

CMV infection can be contagious if the infected person comes in close or intimate contact with another person. You should avoid kissing and sexual contact with an infected person.

The virus may also spread among young children in day care settings.

When planning blood transfusions or organ transplants, the CMV status of the donor can be checked to avoid passing CMV to a recipient who has not had CMV infection.

Mononucleosis
Mononucleosis
Infectious
Mononucleosis
Mononucleosis
Mononucleosis
Antibodies

REFERENCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection. www.cdc.gov/cmv/clinical/index.html. Updated June 6, 2018. Accessed October 8, 2018.

Crumpacker CS. Cytomegalovirus (CMV). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 140.

Drew WL. Cytomegalovirus. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 376.

Latest Research

Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Polymyositis /Dermatomyositis Associated ILD
  • Journal: Respiratory medicine
  • Treatment Used: Ultra-low Dose Rituximab
  • Number of Patients: 40
  • Published —
The study researched the outcomes of ultra-low dose rituximab for patients with polymyositis /dermatomyositis associated interstitial lung disease.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Liver Disease or Injury
  • Journal: Pediatric surgery international
  • Treatment Used: ABO-incompatible and ABO-compatible Liver Transplants in Children
  • Number of Patients: 7461
  • Published —
In this study, researchers compared the effectiveness of ABO-incompatible and ABO-compatible liver transplants in children.