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What is a CMV virus infection?

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Quick Answer

Cytomegalovirus, a virus in the herpesvirus family, causes an infection that typically affects children, according to KidsHealth. CMV infections are not usually serious or life threatening, and they cause symptoms similar to mononucleosis that last a few weeks.

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Full Answer

The virus is retained within the body for life; however, the symptoms remain dormant when the infected individual is healthy, explains Mayo Clinic. CMV is spread through bodily fluids, such as breast milk, semen, saliva, urine and blood.

Babies who are infected with CMV may not exhibit symptoms right away, especially at birth, according to Mayo Clinic. Over time, some babies who have weakened immune systems or are sick at birth may exhibit serious symptoms, such as an enlarged spleen, low birth weight, yellow eyes and skin, and purple rashes or skin splotches. In extreme cases, babies with CMV may be prone to seizures and pneumonia.

Older children or adults with CMV and a weak immune system may experience fever, diarrhea and ulcers when the virus is rampant, explains Mayo Clinic. In some cases, individuals infected with CMV may contract hepatitis, inflammation of the brain, pneumonia, seizures or visual impairments. CMV can attack specific organs, especially when the immune system is weak.

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