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What is CMV?

Cytomegalovirus (sy·toe·MEG·a·low·vy·rus) or CMV, is a member of the herpes virus family. Coming into contact with the CMV virus is a common occurrence and is typically harmless to the general population. A CMV infection causes cold-like symptoms, such as a sore throat, fever, fatigue and swollen glands. These mild cytomegalovirus symptoms last for only a few short weeks and are rarely a cause for concern for healthy kids or adults.
 
It is important to note that the CMV virus can cause serious problems for people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised) due to organ transplants, HIV/AIDS infection, chemotherapy, and specific medications, such as glucocorticoids, cytostatics, antibodies, and drugs acting on immunophilins.
 
The CMV virus can also cause severe disease in babies who were infected with CMV before birth (referred to as congenital CMV infection).
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 50 and 80 percent of people in the United States have had a CMV infection by the time they are 40 years old.
 
Once the CMV virus is in a person’s body, it stays there for life.