Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a type of herpes virus that is common in humans. It is usually harmless, but can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or transplant recipients. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of CMV and the available treatments for this virus.
Symptoms of Cytomegalovirus
Most people who are infected with CMV do not show any symptoms, but some people may develop a mild illness similar to mononucleosis. In these cases, symptoms can include:
These symptoms typically go away on their own within a few weeks. However, in people with weakened immune systems, the virus can cause more serious illness, including:
Retinitis (an eye infection that can cause vision loss)
Encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain)
Diagnosis of Cytomegalovirus
To diagnose CMV, a healthcare provider will take a blood sample and test it for the virus. In some cases, a sample of fluid from the eye or urine may also be tested.
Treatment for Cytomegalovirus
In people with healthy immune systems, CMV usually goes away on its own without treatment. However, in people with weakened immune systems, treatment is needed to control the virus.
Antiviral medications are the main treatment for CMV. These medications work by preventing the virus from replicating in the body. Some of the most commonly used antiviral medications for CMV include ganciclovir, valganciclovir, and foscarnet.
In addition to antiviral medication, people with weakened immune systems may also receive immunoglobulin therapy. This treatment involves receiving injections of antibodies to help boost the body’s immune response to the virus.
In severe cases of CMV, a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant may be necessary. This treatment can help to restore the patient’s immune system and control the virus.
Prevention of Cytomegalovirus
There is no vaccine for CMV, but there are steps that people can take to reduce their risk of getting infected:
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after contact with bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, semen, or breast milk.
Avoid sharing food, drinks, or utensils with others.
Avoid kissing anyone who has a cold or other infection.
Use condoms during sexual activity to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of the virus.
Cytomegalovirus is a common herpes virus that is usually harmless in people with healthy immune systems. However, in people with weakened immune systems, it can cause serious illness and require treatment with antiviral medications, immunoglobulin therapy, or even a bone marrow transplant. To reduce your risk of getting infected, it is important to practice good hygiene and to avoid contact with bodily fluids from infected individuals.