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.
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