Diagnosis of cytomegalovirus infection in a specialized health center.
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Cytomegalovirus PCR test
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What is cytomegalovirus?
Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a common virus that infects people of all ages, but rarely causes obvious illness.
Most CMV infections are “silent”, which means that the majority of people who are infected with CMV show no symptoms. However, it can cause disease in unborn babies and people with a weakened immune system. Once CMV is in a person’s body, it will remain there for life.
How is CMV spread?
Virus is found in body fluids such as urine, saliva, breast milk, blood, semen and vaginal fluids. A person can be infected with CMV when in contact with these body fluids.
Possible situations that can occur in the transmission, are:
- Contact from person to person (like kissing, sexual contact and touching your nose or mouth after touching urine or saliva).
- A pregnant woman can pass the virus to her baby.
- Blood transfusions or organ.
What are the symptoms of CMV?
Most children and adults infected with CMV have no symptoms and do not even know they have been infected. Others may develop a mild form of the disease. Some symptoms are fever, sore throat, fatigue and swollen glands.
For immunocompromised persons (for infection with HIV or radio / chemotherapy), symptoms caused by CMV may be more severe.
While most people do not develop symptoms after exposure, the incubation period appears to be 3 to 12 weeks.
Virus can lodge in the lungs, liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and is released through the saliva, breast milk, semen, urine, vaginal fluid, blood and feces and can cause different diseases depending on where you stay. Infection produces a cytopathic effect (able to kill infected body cells), causing serious damage.
Can a pregnant pass the virus to baby?
Approximately one third of women who become infected with CMV for the first time during pregnancy pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy . Women who have had CMV before becoming pregnant may also transmit the virus to their babies. When they become infected, CMV can cause a variety of disabilities.
Every year in the United States, about 10 of every 1,000 babies born have a CMV infection and 1 in 500 babies is born with disabilities or acquired as a result of infection with CMV.
What health problems CMV causes in infants?
CMV can cause symptoms when the baby is born or later . In most babies born with CMV symptoms or disabilities never have. Possible problems in the baby are:
- Mental disorders.
- Hearing loss.
- Loss of vision.
- Clotting problems.
- Problems in the spleen, lungs, liver.
- Growth disturbances.
In some cases, loss of vision or hearing occurs months or years after birth.
What precautions should pregnant women?
Pregnant women should practice good hygiene and wash hands thoroughly. In nurseries, where it is possible that handwashing practices are not as good , there may be an increased risk of infection. In all cases, good hygiene and hand washing are most important control measures.
What does EMPIREO offer?
EMPIREO offers a highly reliable diagnostic test, in which the presence of the virus in the blood is detected. This test can be determined by the existence of circulating virus, and therefore with infectivity.
National Health Institute (USA)
Weinberg, et al, 2002 , J. Clin. Microbiol ., 40 , 4203-4206
Cortez et al, 2003, J. Infect. Dis., 188, 967-972
Reasonable, et al, 2004, Herpes, 11, 77-86