Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection

CMV mononucleosis; Cytomegalovirus; CMV; Human cytomegalovirus; HCMV

 

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

Causes

 

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. If your immune system becomes weakened in the future, this virus may have the chance to reactivate, causing symptoms.

 

Symptoms

 

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

Depending on which part of the body is affected by CMV, symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Hives
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • 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 presence of substances in your blood produced by CMV. Tests, such as a CMV antibody test, may be done to check the body's immune response to the CMV infection.

Other tests may include:

  • Blood tests for platelets and white blood cells
  • Chemistry panel
  • Liver function tests
  • Mono spot test (to distinguish from mono infection)

 

Treatment

 

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.

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

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

 

Possible Complications

 

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

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

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

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.

 

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 infection.

 

 

References

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.

 
  • Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

    Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells - illustration

    This so-called "Downy cell" is typical of lymphocytes infected by EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) or CMV (Cytomegalovirus) in infectious mononucleosis. Downy cells may be classified as types I, II, or III. This is a type II Downy cell.

    Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

    illustration

  • Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

    Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells - illustration

    This is a lymphocyte that has been infected by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) or Cytomegalovirus (CMV) in infectious mononucleosis and is referred to as a "Downy cell". Downy cells may be classified as types I, II, or III; this is a type I Downy cell.

    Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

    illustration

  • Infectious mononucleosis #3

    Infectious mononucleosis #3 - illustration

    Infectious mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is a viral infection causing high temperature, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. Infectious mononucleosis can be contagious if the infected person comes in close or intimate contact with another person through saliva or sexual contact.

    Infectious mononucleosis #3

    illustration

  • Infectious mononucleosis

    Infectious mononucleosis - illustration

    Swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, fatigue and headache are some of the symptoms of mononucleosis, which is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is generally self-limiting and most patients can recover in 4 to 6 weeks without medications.

    Infectious mononucleosis

    illustration

  • Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cell

    Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cell - illustration

    This picture shows large, atypical lymphocytes (white blood cells). These cells are seen in viral infections, most commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis), cytomegalovirus diseases, and occasionally infectious hepatitis. This is an example of a type I Downy cell.

    Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cell

    illustration

  • Mononucleosis - mouth

    Mononucleosis - mouth - illustration

    Infectious mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. In teenagers and young adults, there is frequently a sore throat and red tonsils with whitish spots (exudate), as seen in this picture. Enlarged lymph nodes and fatigue are also common.

    Mononucleosis - mouth

    illustration

  • Antibodies

    Antibodies - illustration

    Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens.

    Antibodies

    illustration

    • Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

      Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells - illustration

      This so-called "Downy cell" is typical of lymphocytes infected by EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) or CMV (Cytomegalovirus) in infectious mononucleosis. Downy cells may be classified as types I, II, or III. This is a type II Downy cell.

      Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

      illustration

    • Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

      Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells - illustration

      This is a lymphocyte that has been infected by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) or Cytomegalovirus (CMV) in infectious mononucleosis and is referred to as a "Downy cell". Downy cells may be classified as types I, II, or III; this is a type I Downy cell.

      Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cells

      illustration

    • Infectious mononucleosis #3

      Infectious mononucleosis #3 - illustration

      Infectious mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is a viral infection causing high temperature, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. Infectious mononucleosis can be contagious if the infected person comes in close or intimate contact with another person through saliva or sexual contact.

      Infectious mononucleosis #3

      illustration

    • Infectious mononucleosis

      Infectious mononucleosis - illustration

      Swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, fatigue and headache are some of the symptoms of mononucleosis, which is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It is generally self-limiting and most patients can recover in 4 to 6 weeks without medications.

      Infectious mononucleosis

      illustration

    • Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cell

      Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cell - illustration

      This picture shows large, atypical lymphocytes (white blood cells). These cells are seen in viral infections, most commonly caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis), cytomegalovirus diseases, and occasionally infectious hepatitis. This is an example of a type I Downy cell.

      Mononucleosis, photomicrograph of cell

      illustration

    • Mononucleosis - mouth

      Mononucleosis - mouth - illustration

      Infectious mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. In teenagers and young adults, there is frequently a sore throat and red tonsils with whitish spots (exudate), as seen in this picture. Enlarged lymph nodes and fatigue are also common.

      Mononucleosis - mouth

      illustration

    • Antibodies

      Antibodies - illustration

      Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens.

      Antibodies

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection

           

             

            Review Date: 7/31/2016

            Reviewed By: 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, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

            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

             
             
             

             

             

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



            Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.