Cytomegalovirus is a common infection from a kind of herpes virus. This is similar to the virus that causes outbreaks of chickenpox in children but it affects people in all age groups. Once someone gets CMV, it stays in their body but they might remain unaware of its presence. It spreads easily through contact between the virus bearer and another individual, for example, via their spittle. It poses the biggest dangers to pregnant mothers and babies. People with very weak immune systems are also at serious risk if they develop Cytomegalovirus. The virus may remain dormant for years and then reactivate and then its symptoms start to appear.
Many people with CMV remain unaware of its presence in their body since it produces no visible symptoms. The healthy person's immune system usually keeps CMV under control so it remains effectively disarmed. Babies may get CMV from their mothers but no signs appear in the majority of instances. Statistics from the UK show that only 13% of babies born with CMV display symptoms after birth, and a similar percentage experience symptoms later in life, but most of them can only discover they have CMV through blood test results.
Even though most babies suffer no lasting harm from exposal to CMV, a small but significant percentage of babies suffer serious damage. Statistics show that approximately a quarter of the instances of loss of hearing in children link to CMV. Hearing difficulties attributable to CMV become apparent in a baby's first years. Unfortunately, the problem usually increases in severity at the child gets older. Sometimes they suffer a loss of hearing in both ears, or maybe it only affects just one of their ears. The loss of hearing varies in intensity from complete deafness to a mild hearing impediment. The more severe the hearing problem, the higher the chance that child will have difficulties speaking.
Studies reveal that a small percentage of babies with CMV develop epilepsy. Parents will be reassured to know that the so few babies develop epilepsy because of CMV. Since studies show that genetic factors increase the chance of epilepsy, it makes sense that families with this disorder have more grounds for concern. Even in these cases although the possibility of getting epilepsy because of a CMV infection exists, the chances remain very low.
It is important to emphasize that most instances of CMV infection are benign, but someone with a very weak immune system could suffer serious harm to vital bodily organs. The organs most at risk of damage are the digestive system, the lungs, and the eyes. For example, serious health consequences of this kind could occur if the CMV leads to this person developing hepatitis. For these reasons patients who have recently undergone transfusions or transplants, or anyone who has HIV, have particular concerns should any CMV symptoms appear.
A long list of medical conditions may cause a patient to run a high fever. CMV is unlikely to be at the top of the doctor's list as they try to make a diagnosis. It is much more probable that the patient has a regular case of flu, but a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or higher may also be CMV symptoms. Sometimes the doctor notices that this patient also has swollen glands. Except for patients whose immune systems are not functioning properly, the fever poses no real health threats.
Congenital CMV is the strain of this virus that affects a certain proportion of newborn babies. Mothers who carry CMV easily communicate this virus to their babies. One of the signs that a baby has CMV is the yellow coloring of the skin and white of the eye we call jaundice. It usually passes in a matter of days without causing any lasting harm. Sometimes the baby also develops a rash of small purple spots due to the CMV, and their birth weight might be below the average.
A sore throat is one of the most common minor medical conditions. It often happens when someone is rundown, perhaps because of stress at work or some other challenging situation. CMV is another of the many possible causes of sore throats. Sometimes fever and aches in the muscles accompany a sore throat or it develops independently. Most probably, this person assumes they have a standard common cold and treat their throat accordingly. Usually, the infection is on the mild side, so there is no need to consult a doctor unless some special health issues exist.
Even though CMV does not often cause its bearer to experience pains in the chest, it can happen. Someone who has pains in this area is understandably likely to become very anxious. They certainly should consult their doctor to make sure they have no heart problems or other serious health issues. If medical tests could prove these pains are a CMV symptom, this news will probably come as a great relief. The patient is relieved to hear that CMV symptoms do not usually continue for more than a few weeks.
In a small number of cases, those infected with CMV as babies suffer from fatigue in later years. Due to the low chance of this symptom appearing, someone who feels fatigued cannot assume this is the most likely cause. A range of minor complaints and some very serious health issues list fatigue amongst their symptoms. Most probably, this fatigue comes from one of these causes rather than CMV.
Parents often complain that their children have no appetite for the food they prepare. Is it possible that a CMV infection causes this lack of appetite? Doctors know this could happen, but this symptom is quite uncommon. The likelihood the child does not like the food or has lost their appetite by eating too many treats is much greater.
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