Diagnosis

Laboratory tests — including tests of blood and other body fluids or tests of tissue samples — can detect CMV virus.

Screening and testing for your baby

If you're pregnant, testing to determine whether you've ever been infected with CMV can be important. Pregnant women with antibodies have a very small chance of a reactivation infecting their unborn child.

If your doctor detects a new CMV infection during pregnancy, a prenatal test (amniocentesis) can determine if the fetus has the infection. In amniocentesis your doctor obtains and examines a sample of amniotic fluid. Amniocentesis is generally recommended when abnormalities that might be caused by CMV are seen on ultrasound.

If your doctor suspects your baby has congenital CMV, it's important to test the baby within the first three weeks of birth. After that, tests can't show your baby has congenital CMV because the baby might have contracted the infection by nursing or exposure to other people with the virus. If your baby has CMV, your doctor likely will recommend additional tests to check the health of the baby's organs, such as the liver and kidneys.

Screening and testing if you have weakened immunity

Testing for CMV can also be important if you have a weakened immune system. For example, if you have HIV or AIDS, carrying the CMV virus means you'll need regular monitoring for complications of CMV, such as vision and hearing problems.

Treatment

Treatment generally isn't necessary for healthy children and adults. Healthy adults who develop CMV mononucleosis generally recover without medication.

But newborns and people with compromised immune systems need treatment when they're having signs and symptoms of CMV infection. The type of treatment depends on the signs and symptoms and their severity.

The most common treatment is antiviral medications. They can slow reproduction of the virus, but can't eliminate it. Researchers are studying new medications and vaccines to treat and prevent CMV.

Clinical trials

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.

Preparing for your appointment

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment take these steps:

  • Write down any signs and symptoms you or your child is experiencing. Include signs and symptoms even if they seem minor, such as low-grade fever or fatigue.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor. Your time with your doctor is limited, so it can be useful to prepare a list of questions.

For CMV, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • Will I infect others?
  • Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions, including:

  • How long have you had your symptoms?
  • Do you work or live with young children?
  • Have you had a blood transfusion or organ transplant recently?
  • Do you have a medical condition that compromises your immune system, such as HIV or AIDS?
  • Are you receiving chemotherapy?
  • Do you practice safe sex?
  • Are you pregnant or breast-feeding?

In addition, if you think you have been exposed during pregnancy:

  • When do you think you may have been exposed?
  • Have you had symptoms of the condition?
  • Have you been tested for CMV before?
April 12, 2017
References
  1. Bennett JE, et al., eds. Cytomegalovirus (CMV). In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. https://clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.
  2. Goldman L, et al., eds. Cytomegalovirus. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.
  3. Friel TJ. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment of cytomegalovirus in immunocompetent adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.
  4. Kliegman RM, et al. Cytomegalovirus. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.
  5. Bialas KM, et al. Perinatal cytomegalovirus and varicella zoster virus infections: Epidemiology, prevention, and treatment. Clinics in Perinatology. 2015;42:61.
  6. Demmler-Harrison GJ. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.
  7. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection: Babies born with CMV (congenital CMV infection). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/congenital-infection.html. Accessed Dec. 13, 2016.
  8. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection: About CMV. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/overview.html. Accessed Dec. 13, 2016.
  9. Sheffield JS, et al. Cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.
  10. Feldman DM, et al. Toxoplasmosis, parvovirus, and cytomegalovirus in pregnancy. Clinics in Laboratory Medicine. 2016;36:407.
  11. Caliendo AM. Approach to the diagnosis of cytomegalovirus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.
  12. Demmler-Harrison GJ. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection: Management and outcomes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection