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Cytomegalovirus: A description, the symptoms and treatment

What is Cytomegalovirus?

The Cytomegalovirus is an infection transmitted through a virus. Cytomegalovirus is part of the herpes virus family.

Both male and females are at risk of infection. It can be infected through different forms of sexually transmitted fluids, such as from saliva and semen, but also from blood, breast milk and urine. Once you are infected with this virus there is no cure. If you are in good health, it will remain dormant, and you will experience no problems at all. But, when your immune system drops the Cytomegalovirus can cause further complications.

How is it transmitted?

Cytomegalovirus infection is relatively common. However the virus does not spread very easily or through casual contact. To enable it to spread the virus needs direct contact with body fluids. These fluids are like saliva, urine, blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk from an infected person.

Therefore you can become infected with Cytomegalovirus through kissing, breastfeeding, sexual contact, blood transfusions, injection drug use (sharing needles), or organ and bone marrow transplantation.

The contagious period when virus is being shed in body fluids may last for months in an infected individual, and virus may be shed without symptoms at intermittent periods throughout life.

The symptoms: How do I know I have Cytomegalovirus?

Most people infected with Cytomegalovirus will not display any symptoms.

Then again if some symptoms appears, they will might include a mild illness that is known as mononucleosis. The symptoms will include fever, swollen liver, glands and spleen, headaches, a sore throat, fatigue, and increased white blood cells.

Cytomegalovirus can mimic other infectious mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus or liver infection by hepatitis B, or even A and C. The symptoms can include:

  • General weakness
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Irritation of the digestive tract
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Testing

You will need to go to your doctor which will do a blood test. This blood work will be sent to the laboratory to be analysed. They will indicate if the sample contains the antibodies that indicates that a person is infected and thus is positive for this virus. Alternative fluids that can be used to test for this virus includes your spit and urine as these fluids, if positive, will contain the virus as well.

Treatment for Cytomegalovirus

There is no cure for the Cytomegalovirus. There are medications that can be given to treat new-born babies, as well as people with weak immune systems, such as people with HIV, those undergoing cancer chemotherapy, or bone and organ transplantation. These antiviral treatments may improve the prognosis in some patients with Cytomegalovirus infections.

Complications of Cytomegalovirus

Cytomegalovirus is a common virus that can infect almost anyone. Once infected, your body retains the virus for life. Most people don’t know they have the virus because it rarely causes problems in healthy people. But for pregnant women or people weak immune systems, such as HIV patients, the virus can be problematic.

A woman who develops an active Cytomegalovirus infection during pregnancy can pass the virus to her baby, who might then experience signs and symptoms. For people with compromised immunity, especially due to organ transplantation, Cytomegalovirus infection can be fatal.

In addition, Cytomegalovirus can cause serious problem for people that are suffering from weak immune systems such as HIV and Aids patients. That is since the virus can attack different organs of the body and may cause blurred vision and blindness, lung infection, painful swallowing, diarrhea, inflammation of the liver, or inflammation of the brain, which may cause behavioral changes, seizures, coma, painful swallowing, and weakness or numbness in the legs.

Prevention of Cytomegalovirus

There is a pre-treatment available. It is called prophylaxis. This treatment has been useful to reduce the amount of infections. The different sorts of antiviral medications that are given to act against the virus infection do all have some side effects. Some mere irritation where others can be problematic. It is a good idea to discuss the different options will a health care provider, ideally a specialist physician, to better understand each of these and the risks that might be applicable. Also note, although these drugs help to fight off the virus, they are not a cure or a total prevention against the virus.

Due to the complexities of the virus and the seriousness of the side effects, there is no home remedies that have been proven to be effective in treating this viral infection.

About Jacques Dippenaar

Jacques is an influential health blogger and researcher helping readers explore interesting facts and information.

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