Cytomegalovirus (CMV), is a genus of Herpes viruses; in humans the species is known as Human herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5). It belongs to the Betaherpesvirinae subfamily of Herpesviridae. The name means "cell very big virus". more...
CMV especially attacks salivary glands and may also be devastating or even fatal to fetuses. CMV infection can also be life threatening for patients who are immunocompromised (e.g. patients with HIV or organ transplant recipients). CMV viruses are found in many mammal species, but generally are specific only to that species.
- Cercopithecine herpesvirus 5 (CeHV-5) - African green monkey cytomegalovirus
- Cercopithecine herpesvirus 8 (CeHV-8) - Rhesus monkey cytomegalovirus
- Human herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5) - Human cytomegalovirus
- Pongine herpesvirus 4 (PoHV-4)
- Aotine herpesvirus 1 (AoHV-1) - Herpesvirus aotus 1
- Aotine herpesvirus 3 (AoHV-3) - Herpesvirus aotus 3
Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is found universally throughout all geographic locations and socioeconomic groups, and infects between 50% and 85% of adults in the United States by 40 years of age. CMV is also the virus most frequently transmitted to a developing child before birth. CMV infection is more widespread in developing countries and in areas of lower socioeconomic conditions. For most healthy persons who acquire CMV after birth there are few symptoms and no long-term health consequences. Some persons with symptoms experience infectious mononucleosis, with prolonged fever, and a mild hepatitis. A very sore throat is also common. Once a person becomes infected, the virus remains alive, but usually latent within that person's body for life. Recurrent disease rarely occurs unless the person's immune system is suppressed due to therapeutic drugs or disease. Therefore, for the vast majority of people, CMV infection is not a serious problem.
However, CMV infection is important to certain high-risk groups. Major areas of concern are (1) the risk of infection to the unborn baby during pregnancy, (2) the risk of infection to people who work with children, and (3) the risk of infection to the immunocompromised person, such as organ transplant recipients and persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The virus acts by blocking cell apoptosis via the mitochondria and causing massive cell enlargement, which is the source of the virus' name.
Characteristics of the virus
CMV is a member of the herpesvirus group, which includes herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus (which causes chickenpox and shingles), and Epstein-Barr virus (which, together with CMV, is the main cause for infectious mononucleosis). These viruses share a characteristic ability to remain latent within the body over a long period.
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