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Understanding CMV

What is Cytomegalovirus (CMV)?

CMV is a common virus, and almost anyone can get it

As people get older, they are more likely to have been in contact with CMV. CMV spreads through close contact with people who are infected with the virus. Infected people have the virus in their saliva, urine, blood, breast milk, and semen.

For most adults, having CMV is not serious. Often there are no signs or symptoms of CMV. If there are symptoms, they can include fever, sore throat, and fatigue.

Once a person gets CMV, it stays in the body for life. A healthy immune system can keep CMV from causing sickness. However, if the immune system is weakened, CMV can cause sickness.

More Than Half of Adults 40 Years of Age and Older Have Been in Contact With Cytomegalovirus

More than half of adults 40 years of age and older
have been in contact with CMV.

For most adults, having CMV is not serious. Often there are no signs or symptoms of CMV. If there are symptoms, they can include fever, sore throat, and fatigue.

Once a person gets CMV, it stays in the body for life. A healthy immune system can keep CMV from causing sickness. However, if the immune system is weakened, CMV can cause sickness.

CMV and your bone marrow transplant

If you’ve had a bone marrow transplant, you may have some questions about the impact of CMV.

What does CMV have to do with a bone marrow transplant?

Some of the medicines that are needed for a bone marrow transplant can weaken the immune system. These include medicines that keep the body from rejecting a transplant. During this time, CMV may cause sickness.

Before a bone marrow transplant, people are tested for CMV. Laboratory tests of blood and other bodily fluids can detect CMV. The risk of getting sick from CMV after a bone marrow transplant is greater for people who already have CMV than for those who do not. With testing, health care providers know who has a greater risk for sickness from CMV.

CMV testing continues after a bone marrow transplant. The testing helps health care providers monitor CMV to determine if the virus is growing or multiplying.

How can CMV impact a bone marrow transplant?

CMV may become active after a bone marrow transplant and cause problems that can affect recovery. For example, sickness from CMV can affect the lungs, stomach, eyes, and liver.

CMV prevention and treatment

Health care providers have ways to manage CMV. There are medicines that can help prevent CMV from becoming active. There are also medicines that can treat CMV.