CMV acronym is also termed as Cytomegalovirus, which is a DNA herpesvirus that infects almost 85% of United States population at some point in their lives.
A positive blood test for CMV indicates that you contain the antibody against CMV in your blood and in the past you have been exposed to CMV infection. If you have been infected with CMV prior to your pregnancy there is very bleak risk for infecting the fetus in pregnancy.
CMV infection is also the most common reason of genetic viral infection in the US, encompassing about one to two in every 100 newborn babies. CMV can be found in body secretions, like cervical secretions, saliva, semen, blood, and urine and can be found in these secretions for long time for months to years after the first infection.
The CMV blood test is conducted to detect two types of antibodies which are mostly available in the blood: IgG antibodies indicates an infection in the past, may be between 4 weeks and several years. The IgG stays positive always. The IgM antibody signifies more recent infections, sometime within the last months, and it generally becomes negative in few months after an infection.
The primary mode of infection in adults is interaction with young children in the house or in day-care centers. Close contact encompassing kissing and getting saliva or urine on your hands and then using those hands on your nose or mouth. CMV may also travel through sexual proximity. Aninfected pregnant woman can pass on the virus to her fetus before or during labor, or while breastfeeding.
Most primitive CMV infections in adults are rarely noticed, although some individual experience 'flu-like' symptoms like fatigue, headache, sore throat, reduced appetite and swelling of the liver, lymph glands, and spleen. A CMV infection is generally harmless, but it may be disastrous for people with immune disorders, like cancer or HIV infections.
And if the mother contacts CMV during pregnancy it is possible that it also gets transmitted to the fetus by passing the placenta, generating troubles. When you are infected with CMV for the first time, you witness a 'primitive' infection. Unlike other viral infections viz., German measles or chickenpox that offer immunity for life after an infection, an earlier infection with CMV before pregnancy does not safeguard you from getting infected again or from affective the fetus, nevertheless the risk of this happening is very little. After the first infection you can produce the virus intermittently for the entire life without displaying any symptoms. This is termed as a 'recurrent' infection.
About 30-60% of all children have serologic reports of earlier infection till they reach school age, and almost 45-85% of women in the United States have been found to be infected with CMV before pregnancy and contain the antibody in their blood against CMV. Women of lower socioeconomic sources have a higher risk of getting exposed to the virus than women of higher socioeconomic strata.
About 0.2-2% of all pregnant women displays an initial infection symptom during pregnancy, and if that is witnessed, about one-half of the fetuses get infected. The chance of a fetal infection is greater in later stages of pregnancy, but a fetal infection in early stage of pregnancy has more threatening results than an infection in the third trimester.
About 10-15% of genetically infected fetuses are born with disorders like jaundice, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), eye infections, enlargement of the spleen and liver, brain abnormalities such as microcephaly, hydrocephaly, calcifications of the brain and low platelets etc.
Over 90% of infected babies born without any symptoms will have no problems, but about 10% can display problems later on viz., mental retardation, eye problems, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and other developmental disorders.
The diagnosis of a basic CMV infection is typically conducted when people who tested negative for the antibody in earlier times, now tests positive. If IgM antibody is detected in the newborn baby it generally signifies the baby got infected within the uterus, whereas a positive IgG has generally transmitted from the mother and cross passing the placenta. A baby can also get infected post delivery with a culture for CMV. Prior to the delivery, a congenital infection of the fetus can be diagnosed by conducting an amniocentesis and detecting a positive virus culture and/or a positive PCR examination in the amniotic fluid.
Till now, no prominent prevention or treatment for CMV is available. Good hand-washing may cut down your risk of getting infected and it is quite a matter of concern having small children in day-care centers while the mother is in the family way. Frequent testing of pregnant women in the absence of any symptoms is also not suggested presently. Nonetheless, if you are exposed to small kids, getting tested for prior CMV infection prior to the pregnancy may be signified. It is advisable to consult your doctor in this regard.