Cytomegalovirus infection, or CMV, can be found in any part of the world and in any socioeconomic group. This infection is frequently transmitted to the child before he is born. The infection is widely spread in developing countries and those where the socioeconomic conditions are very low. People who get cytomegalovirus infection after birth have some symptoms and the period of their disease is not that long.
Among the most frequent symptoms are syndrome similar to the mononucleosis, fever and mild hepatitis. Once a person is diagnosed with having an infection, he's likely to suffer from it for the rest o his life. It is necessary to mention that the condition is rather rare and may occur only in the period when the immune system of the person is suppressed because of some disease or the use of therapeutic drugs. That is why cytomegalovirus infection does not pose a serious threat for the majority of people.
Nevertheless, there are some risk groups of people that are prone to the disease. First of all, the fetuses in the womb are first on the list. The second group is represented by those people who work with children. And the third group is people who have organ transplants and those with HIV.
Cytomegalovirus infection is a member of herpesvirus family. It is a family of the viruses.
The first one is cercopithecine herpesvirus 5, which is called cytomegalovirus of African green monkey. The second member of the family is cercopithecine herpesvirus 8, which is cytomegalovirus of rhesus monkey. The third member is human herpesvirus-5, which is human cytomegalovirus. And the last member is pongine herpesvirus.
One of the most important cytomegalovirus characteristics is the fact that all these viruses are able to stay dormant in the body for a long period of time. It is interesting to know that the initial stage of the virus may have some symptoms. As for the following stages of the virus, it is unapparent and causes no clinical disease and damage. The virus may become active when the immune system of the person is undermined by a condition.
It is rather difficult to detect cytomegalovirus in a person because the virus usually has no symptoms. Doctors can suspect the presence of the virus in the body of the patient in case he has infectious mononucleosis symptoms but his results for Epstein Barr and mononucleosis are negative. The patient is also able to show some symptoms of hepatitis but the results for hepatitis A, B and C are negative.
In order to get the best diagnostic results it is necessary to perform laboratory tests with the help of paired serum samples. These tests must identify CMV antibodies. The first sample is usually taken when the suspicion of CMV appears. The second sample is taken in 2 weeks. It is possible to perform the virus culture at any time while the patient has some symptoms.
It is possible to hold laboratory tests for CMV antibodies in order to define whether the woman had a CMV infection before.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for cytomegalovirus infection. Those patients who have a weak immune system are subject to the ganciclovir treatment. These patients must have either life-threatening or sight-related conditions. As for the vaccines from the infection, they are still in the stage of development.