cytomegalovirus, CMV

Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the several members of the Herpesvirus family. It is the most common human virus causing congenital infection.

Most infections in newborns or older children or adults are too mild to be noticed, but the virus can rarely cause serious or even fatal infections, especially in patients with weakened immune systems due to chemotherapy (especially bone marrow transplant recipients) or HIV infection.

Cytomegalic inclusion disease is a syndrome of newborns with congenital CMV infection. In its most serious form, affecting about 5% of infants with congenital CMV, it involves

  • liver and spleen enlargement
  • jaundice
  • petechiae
  • purpura
  • microcephaly - head size smaller than predicted with respect to length)
Hearing loss is a common result of CMV infection. Other problems involve mental and visual impairment.

There are only limited antiviral treatment options for severe CMV infection, usually reserved for immune system compromised patients.

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