Cytomegalovirus infection – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that is predominantly of the herpes virus family, which includes varicella-zoster virus (of the chicken pox and shingles variety), Epstein-Barr virus (causes infectious mononucleosis or mono), herpes, and simplex viruses (which cause cold sores and genital herpes).

These viruses remain in the body for life, being dormant and then acting up once the person who has them gets stressed or has his immune system weakened. This condition is called “latent” infection. Cytomegalovirus infection is not discriminatory – it can affect all people from all walks of life.

Researchers have said that over half of the adult population in the United States are infected with CMV, with 80 percent of them having the infection by the time they turn 40. On the other hand, most women (around 30 percent of cases) who have CMV prior to their pregnancy pass it to the baby when their past infection with CMV “reactivates”.

People who are most at risk of acquiring CMV are young children and adults who work or interact closely with people who are already infected with the virus, people who undergo blood transfusions, people who engage in sexual activity with multiple partners, and people who have had the bad luck to receive a CMV-infected organ or bone marrow transplant.

People who are most at risk of complications from CMV infection include pregnant women and people who have a weak immune system, such as those who are HIV-positive, have cancer, or are undergoing chemotherapy.

Infection with CMV is common, but one cannot get it via casual contact alone. To get infected, a person must have direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids like saliva, vaginal secretions, breast milk, blood, semen, or urine.

People get infected with CMV via breastfeeding, kissing, sexual contact, organ and blood marrow transplantation, blood transfusions, and injection drug use (sharing of needles).

Known side effects of cytomegalovirus infection

Cytomegalovirus causes fatigue or tiredness, malaise, enlarged lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, nausea, among other symptoms. Infants who were infected with cytomegalovirus present symptoms such as skin rash, premature birth, low birth weight, pneumonia, microcephaly, or seizures.

Body systems affected by cytomegalovirus infection

Cytomegalovirus infection is bad for the excretory system. It causes an enlarged liver or spleen.

Cytomeglaovirus is bad for the muscular system. It causes muscle tension and aches.

Cytomegalovirus is bad for the digestive system. It causes lack of appetite and bouts of diarrhea.

Cytomegalovirus is bad for the ocular system. It causes the yellowing of the retina.

Cytomegalovirus is bad for the auditory system. 

Cytomegalovirus is bad for the respiratory system. It can cause lung failure.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent cytomegalovirus infection

Foods and nutrients that can help in alleviating cytomegalovirus activity include a Chinese herbal formula containing polyphylla, dandelion, woad, and licorice; garlic; zinc; ascorbic acid; astragalus; black cumin; clove; curcumin; brown seaweed; ginger; bamboo compounds; spirulan; flavonoids, especially kaempferol; hops; resveratrol; St. John’s wort; vitamin A; and xanthohumol.

Treatments, management plans for cytomegalovirus infection

There is no tried-and-tested cure for CMV; in any case, treatment of the infection is not necessarily needed for healthy children and adults. People who have a weak immune system and who are showing symptoms of the disease can be treated with antiviral medication.

Around 30 to 75 percent of people who undergo transplants develop CMV – it is necessary to give them antiviral medication beforehand to prevent this. 

The antiviral medications that a person infected with CMV could take include:

  • Ganciclovir (Cytovene) is the first antiviral medication approved for CMV infection. However, side effects of using this medication include rashes, diarrhea, anemia, fever, and low white blood cell and platelet counts.
  • Valganciclovir (Valcyte) is used in selected patients for the treatment of CMV infection.
  • Foscarnet (Foscavir)  is used to treat infections with CMV that are resistant to ganciclovir. However, foscarnet is dangerous to the kidneys as it causes an imbalance of minerals and electrolytes.

Where to learn more

Summary

Cytomegalovirus infection is bad for the excretory, muscular, digestive, ocular, auditory, and respiratory systems.

Infection with CMV is common, but one cannot get it via casual contact alone. To get infected, a person must have direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids like saliva, vaginal secretions, breast milk, blood, semen, or urine.

Sources include:

GreenMedInfo.com

MedicineNet.com

 



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