What is the cytomegalovirus, symptoms and treatment
Cytomegalovirus, also known as CMV, is a virus of the same herpes family that can cause symptoms such as fever, malaise and abdominal swelling.
As with herpes, this virus is present in most people but it only causes symptoms when the immune system is depressed, as in embarassed women, people with HIV or in patients who are undergoing cancer treatment, for example.
During embarazo, this virus is detected through prenatal exams, but it is generally harmless and does not cause changes in the baby, especially if the woman was infected before becoming embarrassed. However, when the woman is infected during the embarazo, the virus can cause some problems such as microcephaly and disorder in the baby.
Because the cytomegalovirus infection generally does not cause symptoms, it is common for a person to only discover that they are infected when a specific blood test for the virus is carried out.
However, some symptoms that can arise when the immune system is reduced are:
- Fever above 38ºC;
- Extreme tiredness;
- Belly swelling;
- Sore belly;
- General malaise;
- Liver inflammation;
- spontaneous abortion;
- In people with HIV/AIDS, there may be retinal infection, blindness, encephalitis, pneumonia and ulcers in the intestine and esophagus.
Due to the risk of causing malformations in the baby, all the embarassed women must carry out the exam to detect the virus, so the symptoms are not present, in order to start the treatment to prevent the virus from affecting the baby.
how to diagnose
The diagnosis of cytomegalovirus infection is carried out by means of a specific blood analysis, which shows if there are antibodies against the virus.
When the test result shows the CMV IgM reactive result, it indicates that the infection by the virus is still initial, but if the result is CMV IgG reactive, it means that the virus is present for longer in the organism, remaining for life , that’s how it happens with the herpes virus.
However, if the result is CMV IgM reactive, the embarazada should start treatment with antivirals or immunoglobulins, to avoid transmitting the virus to the baby. Learn more about cytomegalovirus infection in the embarazo.
What causes cytomegalovirus
Cytomegalovirus infection is caused by a virus from the same family as herpes, which is transmitted by contact with bodily secretions, such as saliva, by intimate contact with an infected person, or by sharing contaminated objects, such as vases, coverings or towels.
The virus can also be transmitted through blood or mother to child transfusions, when the woman becomes infected during embarazo, and it can also occur after an organ or bone marrow transplant.
how to prevent it
To avoid contagion by cytomegalovirus, it is important to wash your hands, especially before and after going to the bathroom and changing the baby’s pañal, for example, in addition to washing the food when cooking.
In addition, it is important to use condoms during sexual relations and avoid sharing personal objects with other people.
How is the treatment performed?
Treatment for cytomegalovirus infection can be carried out with antiviral drugs, such as Ganciclovir and Foscarnet, for example, without embargo, it has a high toxicity for blood cells and kidneys, not recommended by the doctor, only in special situations como en el embarazo or when the infection is very advanced, for example.
Therefore, the treatment that is usually recommended is the use of analgesics, such as Paracetamol, to relieve symptoms such as headache and fever. This treatment is normally carried out at home for 14 days, and the person must keep rest and increase the consumption of water, to help the body to eliminate the virus.
The complications of cytomegalovirus occur mainly in children who are infected by the virus during embarassment and include:
- (Microcephaly) Abnormally small head;
- Delay in development;
- Chorioretinitis and blindness;
- Cerebral palsy;
- Defects in the training of patients;
- Paralysis of some parts of the body, mainly in the legs;
In the case of adults, the complications arise when the infection manages to develop, they can occur in people who have a depressed immune system, as in the case of diseases such as AIDS and lupus, for example, it can cause blindness and loss of the movements of the legs.
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