Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

CAUSES:

This virus is part of the herpes virus family but has different symptoms. CMV is widespread to as much as 40% to 60% of the U.S. population and 100% of third world populations. Infection does not produce detectable symptoms. Blood antibody levels accurately determine infection. However, the body does not build enough antibodies to avoid reinfection. CMV disease may take on many forms: mononucleosis syndrome, congenital infection, pneumonia, retinitis, hepatitis, gastrointestinal disease, heart disease, endocrine disease, and AIDS.

INCUBATION PERIOD:

3 to 8 weeks from blood, 3 to 12 weeks after delivery.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION:

The virus is found in blood, mucus and body fluids, secretions and excretions, semen and breast milk. It can remain alive for short periods of time on dry cold surfaces such as plastic. It is also sexually transmitted. Babies and young children in day care often transmit the disease to their caretakers.

PERIOD OF COMMUNICABILITY:

Virus is excreted in urine and saliva for many months and may persist for many years following primary infection.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES:

Use Universal/Standard Precautions. Careful handwashing and gloving remains the best prevention of the disease. Young women who work with babies or young children can be tested by their private physician for elevated antibody levels to see if they have acquired the disease. If pregnant and exposed to CMV notify your healthcare provider immediately.

IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL:

None. Exclusion is not necessary.