Cytomegalovirus is a herpes virus that causes chicken pox and infectious mononucleosis. It also can cause a serious infection in people with weakened immune systems (people who have had organ, bone marrow or stem cell transplants).
Most people who are infected with CMV never get sick from it and may not know they are infected. But some people do develop mild symptoms, including a skin rash and swollen glands. These problems aren't permanent, but they can make you feel unwell and can affect your daily activities.
CMV can be transmitted through contact with body fluids, such as urine, saliva, tears, blood, breast milk and semen. Infection occurs most often in young children, but it can happen to healthy adults.
Infection with CMV can lead to mononucleosis, a symptomatic illness that can affect the digestive system, liver, brain and nervous system. It can be serious or even fatal in some people with weakened immune systems.
It can cause hearing loss, developmental delay, vision impairment and learning disabilities in babies born to women with CMV infections during their pregnancy. It can be difficult to diagnose, so your obstetrician should monitor you closely during the first months of your baby's life and may refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for consultation.
If you are planning to use donor sperm, you must have your CMV status tested to reduce your risk of developing a newborn with a birth defect. It is also important for you to be cmv negative if you choose to receive cellular blood components. UMMC uses leukoreduction, which means that we remove most of the white blood cells from the cellular components.