Acute cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Pediatric Center

Acute cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection

Definition

Acute cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a condition caused by a member of the herpesvirus family.

Alternative Names

CMV mononucleosis; Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Causes

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

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

Most people come into contact with CMV in their lifetime, but typically only individuals with weakened immune systems become ill from CMV infection. Some otherwise healthy people with acute CMV infection develop a mononucleosis-like syndrome.

In the U.S., CMV infection most commonly develops between ages 10 - 35. Many people are exposed to CMV early in life and do not realize it because they have no symptoms. People with a compromised immune system can have a more severe form of the disease.

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

Symptoms

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

Less common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Hives
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Jaundice
  • Neck stiffness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen spleen and liver

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and feel your belly area. Your liver and spleen may be tender when they are gently pressed (palpated). You may have a skin rash.

Special lab tests such as a CMV DNA serum PCR test may be done to check for substances in your blood that are produced by CMV. Other tests such as a CMV antibody test may be done to check your body’s response to the CMV infection.

Other tests include:

  • Blood tests for platelets and white blood cells
  • Chemistry panel
  • Liver function tests
  • Monospot test

Treatment

Most patients recover in 4 - 6 weeks without medication. 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 medications are usually not used in people with normal immune function.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Fever usually goes away in 10 days, and swollen lymph glands and spleen return to normal in 4 weeks. Fatigue may linger for 2 to 3 months.

Possible Complications

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

When to Contact a Medical Professional

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

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

Prevention

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.

References

Crumpacker CS II, Zhang JL. Cytomegalovirus. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 138.

Drew WL. Cytomegalovirus. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 384.



Review Date: 8/15/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile