Cytomegalovirus otherwise referred to as CMV is a virus that is very common and can infect quite a number of people. Many people aren’t aware that they are suffering from the Cytomegalovirus since the virus causes symptoms only in rare cases. However, for people with immune systems that are weakened or for pregnant women, the Cytomegalovirus should be a reason for concern.

Once the body gets CMV infection, then you retain the Cytomegalovirus for as long as you live. In healthy people, the virus simply remains in a dormant state.

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How is Cytomegalovirus spread?

CMV is spread from one person to another via body fluids which include;

  • Coming into contact sexually with an infected individual
  • Blood transfusions or organ transplants
  • Breast milk of a mother who is infected with CMV
  • Via the placenta; from a pregnant woman to an unborn baby/ during birth
  • Saliva and urine of an infected person (coming into contact with the fluids)

Cytomegalovirus that is passed on via breast milk doesn’t make a baby sick in usual circumstances. However, if pregnant women get an active infection, then the virus can be easily passed on to the baby.

Babies who have the Cytomegalovirus that was passed on to them in the womb, babies who get the CMV infection during or after birth (could be via breast milk) and individuals who have weak immune systems are at a higher risk of getting symptoms and signs as compared to healthy people.

Treatment of CMV

There isn’t any cure for the virus, however there are some drugs that are available that can be used to treat individuals who have weakened immunity systems and newborns.

Symptoms of CMV in babies

If it’s the first CMV infection in pregnant women, the risk of the virus getting transmitted to babies is much higher as compared to pregnant people in those with reactivated infections. Transmission is usually during the 1st trimester in the pregnancy.

Most babies infected with CMV at birth have a healthy appearance but some develop the symptoms with time; this could even be after some years or months after birth.

Below are some of the CMV symptoms in babies;

  • Hearing loss
  • Some babies may have vision impairment
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Pneumonia
  • Low weight at born
  • Seizures
  • Purple rash or skin splotches; in some cases it can be both

Symptoms of CMV in individuals who have compromised immunity

  • Pneumonia
  • Hepatitis
  • Digestive tract ulcers; this can cause bleeding
  • Fever
  • Brain inflammation (encephalitis)
  • Seizures
  • Changes in behavior
  • Coma
  • Blindness or visual impairment

Most people who get infected with CMV and are healthy may get just a few symptoms if any. Some adults may get symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue which are very similar to the mononucleosis disease when first infected.

Summary

Touching the inside of the mouth, nose or eyes after touching the body fluids of a person already infected with CMV is the most common factor in the spread of the virus; this is due to the fact that the mucous membranes easily absorbs the virus.