Cytomegalovirus: Understanding the Condition

Cytomegalovirus: Understanding the Condition

While affecting a large portion of the population, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and its effects remain relatively unknown. So, what exactly is CMV? Take a closer look at this often-misunderstood virus in our latest blog.

What is Cytomegalovirus?

Commonly abbreviated as CMV, cytomegalovirus is a double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the herpes family, and once contracted, it can remain in the body long-term. The condition is quite common – it’s believed that most of us have been exposed to CMV at some point. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately half of all adults have been infected by age 40. CMV can be contagious yet completely asymptomatic in healthy individuals with strong immune systems. However, those with weakened immune systems and those in daily contact with children are more vulnerable to severe health effects.

Warning Signs of CMV

Cytomegalovirus is transmittable through body fluids such as saliva, urine, breast milk, and blood transfusion. While often going unnoticed in healthy adults, the virus can cause a wide range of symptoms affecting people of all ages. Symptoms may range from mild cold-like symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes to more severe signs such as seizures. The most prevalent symptoms include fatigue, fever, sore throat, and swollen glands. However, more severe symptoms may arise for the immunocompromised, such as issues with the lungs, intestines, and liver, such as hepatitis.

Blurry image of pregnant woman sitting in the back.

CMV and Pregnancy Complications

Although the condition can prove harmless for some, it can also result in serious health concerns for others. This is especially true for women, especially those who are pregnant. If an expecting mother is exposed to the virus during pregnancy, there is a chance they can pass it onto the fetus, known as congenital CMV. Possible health complications that can occur as a result include:

  • Autism
  • Developmental delays
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing loss
  • Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Visual impairment

Several tests are available, including urine tests, blood tests, and swabs of fluid samples in the case of newborn infections. Treatment depends on the severity of the virus. While there is no specific medication to treat CMV, antiviral drugs can be used to help shorten the duration. While cytomegalovirus has no cure, avoiding contact with those infected can help prevent its transmission. Eating nutritious food, practicing good hygiene, and getting tested early are small steps that could help decrease health risks. If you’ve had trouble shaking that cough, sneeze, and fatigue for longer than usual, it may be time to check in with a healthcare professional. With proper testing and treatment, the effects of CMV can be minimal.

Be the generation that stands up to cytomegalovirus, a viral infection that can cause birth defects.

Cytomegalovirus Prevention Studies

Since there’s no cure for cytomegalovirus, clinical trials are underway to help advance the research for this virus. The best way to avoid cytomegalovirus is to stay ahead of it! Learn more about our CMV vaccine enrolling clinical trials for women in and around the Phoenix and Tucson areas by visiting our website or calling us at (480) 360-4000 today!


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