Cytomegalovirus: Symptoms and Treatment

Cytomegalovirus is a fairly common viral disease, which, however, is not known to everyone. Cytomegalovirus, the symptoms and characteristics of which are determined primarily by the state of the immune system, in its normal state, can generally not manifest itself at all, without having any harmful effect on the organism of the virus carrier. It is noteworthy that in this case the only peculiarity of the virus carrier is the possibility of transferring cytomegalovirus infection to another person.

General Description

Cytomegalovirus is actually a relative of common herpes, because it is part of the herpesvirus group, which includes, in addition to herpes and cytomegalovirus, also two such diseases as infectious mononucleosis and chicken pox. The presence of cytomegalovirus is noted in the blood, sperm, urine, vaginal mucus, and also in tears, which determines the possibility of infection by close contact with these varieties of biological fluids.

Given the fact that tears of a person in very rare cases enter the body, most of the infection occurs during sexual contact and even with a kiss. At the same time, it is important to note that although this virus is extremely common, it does not apply to particularly infectious infections — it is necessary to intensively purchase this virus and for a long time to try to mix own fluids and fluids of the carrier of the virus. Given such characteristics, it is not necessary to exaggerate the danger posed by cytomegalovirus, but it is also not necessary to neglect precautionary measures.

Cytomegalovirus: the main types of disease

The duration of the current of the disease we are considering in a latent form is extremely difficult to determine, because it is impossible to determine the moment that is noted during the disease as an initial one. Conditional it is denoted within the interval of one to two months. As for the varieties of cytomegalovirus, the specialists here distinguish the following possible variants:

  • Congenital cytomegalovirus infection , the symptoms of which appear mostly in the form of enlarged spleen and liver. In addition, the danger of the disease is also in the possible jaundice arising on the background of infection, a hemorrhage that occurs in the internal organs. Similar features of the flow lead to violations in the work of the central nervous system, in addition, in women, the infection can provoke ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
  • Acute cytomegalovirus infection. As the main routes of infection, sexual contact is primarily defined here, but infection with blood transfusion is also possible. The features of the symptomatology, as a rule, are similar to the manifestations typical of common cold, in addition, there is also an increase in the salivary glands and formation on the gums and white tongue.
  • Generalized cytomegalovirus infection. In this case, manifestations of the disease are expressed in the formation of inflammatory processes in the spleen, kidneys, adrenal glands, pancreas. As a rule, inflammatory processes occur because of decreased immunity, while their course proceeds in conjunction with a bacterial infection.

Common symptoms of cytomegalovirus infection

Medical practice defines three possible options that characterize the course of cytomegalovirus, which, accordingly, determines the characteristics of its symptoms. In particular, the following possible flow variants are distinguished:

  1. A cytomegalovirus infection that manifests itself in a normal state that characterizes the functioning of the immune system. The duration of the latent course of the disease is about two months. Symptoms of cytomegalovirus infection are manifested in the form of fever, muscle pain and general weakness. In addition, there is also an increase in lymph nodes. As a rule, the disease in this case passes by itself, which becomes possible due to antibodies produced by the body itself. Meanwhile, the cytomegalovirus can stay in it for a long time, remaining during the period of being in the body in an inactive state.
  2. Cytomegalovirus infection, manifested when the immune system weakens. In this case, it is a generalized form, in accordance with the characteristics of which the disease manifests itself. In particular, the symptomatology is the defeat of the lungs, liver, pancreas, kidney and eye retina. Due to the peculiarities of the state of the immune system, cytomegalovirus infection is manifested in patients with HIV infection, after bone marrow transplantation or any internal organ, as well as in patients with lymphoproliferative disease (leukemia) and patients with hematopoietic tumors (hemoblastosis ).
  3. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Its manifestations arise against the background of intrauterine infection, with the exclusion of miscarriages. The symptomatology characteristic of the disease in this form is expressed in the manifestations of prematurity, which implies a delay in development, as well as problems with the formation of the jaw, hearing and vision. There is also an increase in the spleen, kidneys, liver and some other types of internal organs.

Cytomegalovirus: symptoms in men

There is a cytomegalovirus infection in men in the body mainly in the form of inactive, and as the main cause of its activation, a decrease in protective forces can be isolated, which the organism encounters under stressful situations, nervous exhaustion and with colds.

Stopping on the symptoms of cytomegalovirus in men, we can distinguish the following manifestations of it:

  • temperature increase;
  • chills;
  • headaches;
  • swelling of the mucous membranes and nose;
  • enlarged lymph nodes;
  • runny nose
  • skin rash
  • inflammatory diseases that occur in the joints.

As you can see, the listed manifestations are similar to those observed in ARI and ARVI. Meanwhile, it is important to consider that the symptoms of the disease occur only after 1-2 months from the time of infection, that is, after the end of the incubation period. The main difference, due to which it becomes possible to separate this disease from cold, is the duration of the clinical manifestations peculiar to it. Thus, the symptoms of cytomegalovirus persist for four to six weeks, while ORZ traditionally lasts no more than one or two weeks.

From the moment of infection the patient acts immediately as an active carrier of the virus, remaining for a period of about three years. In addition, some cases indicate that cytomegalovirus also affects the genitourinary organs, which in turn leads to inflammatory diseases in the organs of the genitourinary system and testicular tissues. Actual lesions with cytomegalovirus in this area lead to unpleasant sensations when urinating.

A critical drop in immunity leads to a greater severity of the cytomegalovirus, which in turn causes damage to the internal organs, as well as disorders in the CNS, pleurisy, pneumonia, myocarditis, encephalitis. Rare cases indicate that the presence of a number of infectious diseases in the patient can lead to the fact that the inflammatory process becomes the cause of the paralysis formed in the brain tissues, the same, respectively, leads to a lethal outcome.

As in other cases, the natural level of susceptibility to the infection we are considering in men in particular is extremely high, while the infection itself can proceed directly with different symptoms. Meanwhile, again, under condition of normal functioning of the immune system, the course of the disease is not accompanied by any expressed manifestations. Cytomegalovirus in acute form occurs with actual immunodeficient physiological states, as well as in the presence of an innate or acquired variety of immunodeficiency.

Cytomegalovirus and Pregnancy: Symptoms

In pregnancy, cytomegalovirus can provoke serious disorders related to the development of the child or even lead to the death of the fetus. It should be noted that the risk of transmission through the placenta infection is extremely high.

The most serious consequences are noted in the case of primary infection, to which the fetus is exposed when the pathogen enters the mother’s body when the child is born for the first time. Given this feature, those women who had no antibodies before the conception of antibodies to cytomegalovirus should take special care of their own health — in this case they fall into a risk group.

Before planning conception, it is highly recommended to undergo an appropriate examination regarding the presence of cytomegalovirus infection in combination with tests conducted for herpes, toxoplasmosis and rubella.

The possibility of infection of the fetus is noted in the following situations:

  1. at conception (in case of presence of a causative agent in the male semen)
  2. through the placenta or through the fetal membranes during the period of intrauterine development
  3. when giving birth while passing through the birth canal of the baby.

In addition to the above situations, infection of the newborn is possible during feeding, which is due to the presence of the virus in the mother’s milk. It is noteworthy that the infection of the child during the period of labor and during the first months of his life is not so dangerous for him as for the fetus in the period of intrauterine development.

When the fetus is infected during the course of pregnancy, it is noted that it is possible to adopt various directions by developing the pathological process. Some cases indicate that cytomegalovirus may not cause any symptoms, respectively, without affecting the child’s health. This, in turn, significantly increases the chances that the baby will be born healthy.

It also happens that these children are marked at birth with low weight, which, meanwhile, does not bear any special consequences — after a while, in most cases, both the weight and the level of development of children come to the indicators of their peers. Part of the children, according to a number of indicators, may lag behind in development. Newborns thus become, like most people, passive carriers of cytomegalovirus infection.

In case of intrauterine infection with cytomegalovirus infection of the fetus, as a result of the development of the infectious process, death may occur, in particular, such a prognosis becomes urgent in the early stages of pregnancy (up to 12 weeks). If the fetus survives (which mainly occurs if it is infected at a later date than the time limit determined for the infection), the infant is already born with a congenital type of cytomegalovirus infection. Manifestations of its symptoms are noted immediately, or it becomes noticeable by the second or fifth years of life.

If the disease manifests itself immediately, then it is characterized by a current in combination with a number of defects in development in the form of underdevelopment of the brain, its dropsy, as well as liver and spleen diseases (hepatitis, jaundice, increase in liver size). In addition, a newborn can have congenital malformations, urgency for him acquires a heart defect, the possibility of deafness, muscle weakness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy. Possible risk is the diagnosis of the child’s delay in the level of mental development.

As for the possibility of symptomatic manifestation of cytomegalovirus at a later age, the consequences of infection during pregnancy are manifested in this case in the form of hearing loss, blindness, inhibited speech, psychomotor disorders and mental retardation. In view of the severity of the consequences that may be caused by infection with the virus in question, its appearance when bearing a child can act as an indication for the artificial termination of pregnancy.

The final decision in this matter is made by the doctor on the basis of taking into account the results obtained with ultrasound, virologic examination, and also taking into account the actual complaints of the patient.

As we have already noted, the most severe consequences for infection of the fetus with cytomegalovirus infection are noted almost exclusively only in the case of primary infection by the mother’s pathogen during the course of pregnancy. In the body of women only in this case there are no antibodies that prevent the pathogenic effect of the virus. Thus, in its unconditioned state, the cytomegalovirus penetrates without difficulty to the fetus through the placenta. It should be noted that the probability of possible infection of the fetus is 50% in this case.

Preventing primary infection is possible with the maximum restriction of contact with a significant number of people, especially with children who, in the presence of the virus, release into the environment occurs before the age of five years. The presence of pregnant antibodies in the body determines the possibility of exacerbation of the disease in case of a decrease in immunity, as well as in the case of concomitant type of pathologies and the use of certain medications, which are suppressed by the protective forces inherent in the body.

Now let’s look at the symptomatology. Cytomegalovirus, symptoms in women during pregnancy which follow the analogy with the symptoms of influenza, is expressed, respectively, in a slight increase in temperature and in general weakness. It is also important to note that in most cases the course of the infectious process can be characterized by a complete absence of symptoms, and the detection of the virus occurs only as a result of appropriate laboratory tests. For an accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to conduct a blood test for intrauterine infections.

Treatment of a pregnant woman with an acute cytomegalovirus detected by her or with the urgency of primary infection requires the use of antiviral medications, as well as immunomodulators.

It is noteworthy that timely treatment determines the possibility of minimizing the risk of intrauterine fetal development. In the case if the pregnant woman acts as a virus carrier, treatment is not performed. The only thing that a doctor can recommend in this case is the attentive attitude of the mother to her own immunity, and, accordingly, to keeping him at the appropriate level. At the birth of a child with a congenital form of cytomegaly, it is recommended to postpone the planning of the next pregnancy for a period of about two years.

Cytomegalovirus: symptoms in children

As a cause that provokes the occurrence of cytomegalovirus infection in children, infection occurs during intrauterine development through the placenta. When infected at the term of up to 12 weeks, as we have already noted, the risk of fetal death is great, and if the infection occurs at a later date, the fetus survives, but there are certain violations in its development.

Only about 17% of the total number of infected children experiences different symptoms, corresponding to cytomegalovirus infection. Cytomegalovirus infection in children whose symptoms are manifested as jaundice, an increase in internal organs in size (spleen, liver), a decrease in hemoglobin and a change in blood composition at the biochemical level, in severe forms of its course can trigger abnormalities in the central nervous system. In addition, as we have already noted, lesions of the hearing aid and the eyes can develop.

In frequent cases, there is an abundant rash in children already within the first hours (days) from the moment of birth, if they have an infection. It affects the skin in the area of ​​the trunk, face, legs and hands. In addition, cytomegalovirus, the symptoms in a child often accompanied by hemorrhages under the skin or mucous membranes, are often accompanied by umbilical cord bleeding along with the detection of blood in the stool.

The defeat of the brain leads to the trembling of the handles and to seizures, there is increased drowsiness. Cytomegalovirus infection, whose symptoms are also manifested in the form of a visual impairment or in its complete loss, can also occur in combination with a developmental lag.

If the mother has an acute form of cytomegalovirus at the time of the baby’s birth, a study of his blood is conducted to see if there are antibodies against the pathogen in the first weeks / months of life. The determination in the laboratory diagnosis of the presence of cytomegalovirus infection does not indicate the inevitability of the development of the acute form of this disease.

Meanwhile, this may be a cause for concern, too, because the likelihood of late manifestations, peculiar to the infectious process, greatly increases. Given this feature, babies in this situation require constant supervision of specialists, which will allow to identify the disease at an early stage, as well as carry out the necessary treatment

Sometimes it also happens that the first symptoms of cytomegalovirus manifest to the third-fifth years of life. In addition, it is proven that transmission of infection occurs in the environment of preschool groups, which occurs through saliva.

In children, the symptoms of cytomegalovirus infection are similar to manifestations of ARI, which is expressed in the following:

  • temperature increase;
  • enlarged lymph nodes;
  • runny nose
  • chills;
  • increased drowsiness.

In a number of cases, the possibility of the development of the disease is noted up to pneumonia, in addition, endocrine diseases (pituitary gland, adrenal glands), gastrointestinal diseases become actual. With the hidden course of the disease, there are no immune system disorders, while it is quite common and, as practice shows, there are no threats for the child’s health in this case.

Diagnosis of cytomegalovirus

Diagnosis of the disease is performed using a number of specific studies aimed at detecting the virus in question. This includes not only laboratory methods, but also the study of clinical features:

  1. Culture sowing. It is used to determine the possibility of detecting a virus in the samples of saliva, sperm, blood, urine, and a general smear. Here, not only does the urgency of the presence of the virus appear, but a complex picture is also drawn up, indicating its activity. In addition, this analysis makes it clear how effective the therapy against the virus is.
  2. Light microscopy. Using this method using a microscope, it is possible to detect giant cytomegalovirus cells that have a specific type of intranuclear inclusions.
  3. ELISA. This method is based on the detection of antibodies to cytomegalovirus infection. When immunodeficiency it is not used, because this condition excludes the possibility of producing antibodies.
  4. DNA Diagnosis. The body tissues are examined for DNA detection of the virus in question. It is possible to obtain only information about the presence of the virus in the body, however, with the exception of information related to its activity

Given the many different forms in which the cytomegalovirus may be present in the body, the diagnosis presupposes the use of a combination of different techniques, because using only one of the research methods to produce an accurate diagnosis is not enough.

Treatment of cytomegalovirus

To date, there is no cure for cytomegalovirus completely eliminated from the body. In the normal state of the immune system and the lack of activity on the part of the virus, treatment, as such, is not required.

If a cytomegalovirus infection is detected in the body, it is not necessary to use antiviral therapy without fail. Moreover, the effectiveness of the use of immunotherapeutic drugs in combination with it has not been proven, nor, indeed, the effectiveness of antiviral therapy in the presence of congenital infection.

The course of treatment is required without fail under the following conditions:

  • hepatitis
  • disorders of the auditory and visual organs
  • pneumonia;
  • encephalitis
  • jaundice, subcutaneous hemorrhage and prematurity (in the case of a congenital form of cytomegalovirus).

Treatment, as a rule, involves the use of drugs in the form of suppositories (viferon), as well as a number of antiviral drugs. Duration of admission, as well as dosage, are determined on the basis of individual characteristics and the patient’s condition.

For diagnosis of cytomegalovirus on the basis of the availability of appropriate symptoms, you need to contact a venereal or dermatovenereologist.