Cytomegalovirus, aka CMV, is a common herpes virus. It’s often lies dormant, so you may not know you have this herpes-virus 3’s chronic infection. It’s estimated that over half the adult population has been infected.
Cytomegalovirus is contagious and spreads via infected body secretions, particularly saliva, blood, tears, urine, vaginal secretions and semen. Therefore, this chronic infection is considered a sexually transmitted disease.
- herpes virus 1 ~ oral herpes
- herpes virus 2 ~ genital herpes
- herpes virus 4 ~ chickenpox, shingles
- herpes virus 5 ~ Epstein-Barr virus, mono
- herpes virus 6 & 7 ~ causes rubeola measles
- herpes virus 8 ~ virus that causes Kaposi sarcoma
Your chronically infecting cytomegalovirus may cause no symptoms (asymptomatic) or only mild symptoms. In otherwise health individuals, a few may experience symptoms similar to mononucleosis, such as:
It’s touted as causing no long term health consequences.
Research indicates that CMV active virus appears to increase blood vessel inflammation, in turn causing high blood pressure. Combine this health state with a fatty diet, and your chronic infection may be an aggravating cause for atherosclerosis, which is a major risk factor for:
Chronic cytomegalovirus infection may cause an advancement in the debilitating effects of rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s as well.
This infectious disease can reactivate, particularly if you’re in an immunosuppressed state. If your immune system is weakened because of HIV or organ transplant, then these severe cytomegalovirus causing symptoms may ignite:
Overall, cytomegalovirus isn’t recognized as a major health concern. However, there are two instances in which cytomegalovirus can cause some serious health challenges to infants.
One instance is if a woman is initially infected with cytomegalovirus during pregnancy. The virus can spread via the placenta to her growing fetus and congenital abnormalities can occur. This is what’s referred to as congenital CMV.
Infants congenitally infected with CMV may be miscarried, stillborn or cause these infection related health issues:
- hearing loss
- liver damage
- enlarged liver
- lung infection
- low birth weight
- growth problems
- vision impairment
- excessive bleeding
- retinal inflammation
- spleen enlargement
- neurological conditions
- mineral deposits in brain
- microcephaly ~ small head
- physical coordination issues
- varying degrees of mental impairment
CMV can cause symptoms at birth or later in your baby’s life. Most congenitally infected babies are born healthy or only with mild congenital CMV related symptoms.
Another instance is if a neonate receives the CMV virus through infected blood transfusions. The assault of the higher concentration of virus on their fragile immune system may cause pneumonia and hepatitis.
Once infected, this herpes virus remains alive in your body, but typically dormant. It rarely reactivates unless your immune system is severely compromised. Therefore, a CMV chronic infection is not a serious health complication for most.