December 1, 2015
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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection

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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection facts

  • CMV is a common virus in the same family as herpesvirus, and it can infect anyone.
  • CMV is spread by direct contact of body fluids, such as saliva, blood, urine, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. Thus breastfeeding, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and sexual contact are possible modes of transmission.
  • Most healthy people do not experience any symptoms when infected with CMV, and it does not pose a serious health concern. A majority of adults have antibodies consistent with past infection.
  • Most healthy children and adults who do have symptoms will recover from CMV infection without complications and do not require antiviral treatment.
  • However, in those with a weakened immune system, CMV can cause serious disease (retinitis, hepatitis, colitis, pneumonia, or encephalitis).
  • Infants born to mothers infected with CMV during pregnancy may develop congenital CMV infection.
  • Health-care professionals diagnose CMV infections by culturing the virus, detecting CMV DNA from the infected individual, or detecting CMV antibodies.
  • Antiviral treatments may improve the prognosis in some patients.
  • There is no commercially available CMV vaccine. Experimental vaccines are being studied.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2015


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