Antiviral drugs can slow the growth of the cytomegalovirus, but there is no available method for eradicating the infection as of 2015, according to Mayo Clinic. The virus is harmless in otherwise healthy adults and children and does not typically require treatment. Newborns and individuals with immunodeficiency conditions may experience complications from the virus, such as pneumonia, which require treatment. Research into treatments and vaccines for the virus is ongoing.
Though rare, complications in adults can include symptoms that resemble mononucleosis, or mono, such as throat irritation and swollen glands, states Mayo Clinic. Other complications include intestinal problems, liver conditions, various nervous system failures and inflamed lung tissue. Newborns with the virus are susceptible to developmental disabilities and complications, including loss of hearing or eyesight, mental impairments and seizures. In come cases, the virus can cause death in newborns.
The disease is widespread but underdiagnosed due to its asymptomatic nature in most healthy individuals, explains Mayo Clinic. Children in the womb and newborns are especially susceptible to infection, as mothers can transmit the virus through the placenta and breast milk. Other means of infection include sexual transmission, blood transfusion and organ transplants. The most common method of transmission occurs when individuals come in contact with carriers’ bodily fluids and then touch their own eyes, noses or mouths.