Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a common virus that can cause a variety of symptoms and illnesses. While most people experience no symptoms, the virus can cause severe illness in individuals with weakened immune systems. In this article, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms of CMV, how it’s diagnosed, methods of prevention, and treatments.
Signs and Symptoms
In healthy individuals, CMV typically does not cause any symptoms and does not require treatment. However, if someone is immunocompromised, the virus can cause an array of symptoms, including fatigue, fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and pains, weight loss, and eye inflammation.
CMV can be difficult to diagnose because it often has no symptoms in healthy individuals and is often mistaken for other viruses. To diagnose CMV, a doctor will likely order a blood test to look for antibodies that the body uses to fight the virus. While this test only verifies the presence of past exposure, it can be enough to determine a current infection.
The most effective way to prevent contracting CMV is to take preventive measures such as washing hands regularly, avoiding contact with saliva, and avoiding sharing of eating and drinking utensils. Vaccines are available to prevent infection in individuals at high risk such as healthcare workers, and pregnant women can reduce their chances of their baby being infected by not sharing food, drinks, or utensils.
Healthy individuals don’t typically need treatment for CMV, as the virus will often clear on its own. Immunocompromised individuals, however, may require antibiotics or antiviral medications to prevent further illness. Additionally, supportive treatments such as hydration and rest may help speed recovery in those who are ill.
While CMV is a common virus that can be managed with preventative measures, taking care to avoid exposure is necessary to prevent complications in immunocompromised individuals. If any of the symptoms listed above presents itself, it is important to contact your doctor for further testing and treatment.