Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common herpes virus that’s also known as HCMV, CMV, or human herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5). Cytomegalovirus can affect babies and adults alike, and it’s the most commonly transmitted virus to a developing fetus. Essentially, CMV is a form of herpes that you don’t want to pass onto your significant other because it could have long-term effects on your future offspring, among other things.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of adults have been diagnosed with CMV by the age of 40. Usually, those affected by cytomegalovirus show few or no symptoms. However, once an individual is infected with CMV, it remains within the body for life, and at any point, can reactivate. People of all ages can be infected with cytomegalovirus, but fortunately, various precautions can be taken to prevent it from occurring.
As the medical community and researchers gain more knowledge about CMV, studies like this one HERE are providing more informative and helpful details about the virus including ways to prevent the occurrence of it and how to effectively fight it.
Top Five Cytomegalovirus Facts
Once an individual is infected with CMV, the type of treatment that’s pursued is based on different factors, especially specific symptoms and their severity. Being well informed about cytomegalovirus can significantly help prevent the occurrence of it, which begins with these five key facts:
- There are three types of cytomegalovirus consisting of congenital, primary, and reactivation:
- Congenital CMV occurs when a baby inherits the virus from the mother before birth, and it’s worth noting that around one in five babies with congenital CMV infection will have long-term health problems
- Primary CMV refers to the first time an individual is infected with CMV, which doesn’t typically cause any serious symptoms
- Reactivation CMV occurs when the infection that was once dormant becomes active again once an individual’s immune system is weakened
- Those infected with cytomegalovirus may be able to keep the virus from causing illness if they have a healthy and strong immune system
- A large majority of people infected with CMV don’t show any major symptoms
- CMV can be passed onto others through saliva, blood, urine, semen, and breast milk
- Individuals with weakened immune systems and those born with CMV are more likely to experience severe symptoms and/or long-term health issues as a result of being infected
Major CMV Preventative Measures
Although cytomegalovirus can affect anyone regardless of their age, one silver lining is that different precautions can be taken to prevent CMV, which include the following:
- Proper hygiene, especially washing hands often and thoroughly
- Avoiding contact with saliva and tears when kissing a child
- Not sharing food, glasses, or kitchen utensils with others
- Safely and properly disposing of diapers, tissues, and other potentially contaminated items followed by thorough hand washing
- Practice safe sex by using condoms during sexual contact
In recent years and to this day, researchers have been focused on learning more about CMV and how people can help treat and/or prevent this virus from happening. Clinical trials like this one HERE are being performed by research groups with the goal of helping the healthcare community not only learn more about CMV, but also develop solutions.
So far, experimental vaccines are being tested for women of childbearing age, with the goal of an effective inoculation that’s safe and useful in preventing CMV infection in both mothers and babies.
When In Doubt, Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment
Most people infected with CMV show no noticeable symptoms, but this doesn’t apply to everyone. It’s possible to experience symptoms, such as a sore throat, fever, swollen glands, or fatigue. If you have any of these symptoms, or if you have any reason to believe you may have been infected with CMV through other means, we suggest scheduling a doctor’s appointment to receive a proper diagnosis and/or treatment plan. Being proactive not only helps protect you and your partner, but also your future child/children among other parts of life including your love life.