Mechanisms underlying the onset and perpetuation of chronic immune activation in individuals without overt infectious or autoimmune diseases are unclear. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a persistent virus that induces a permanent increase of highly differentiated, interferon-gamma-secreting effector T cells. We hypothesized that, because of this increase, CMV also induces a systemic inflammatory response. We measured acute phase proteins, cytokines, and chemokines in serum samples from renal transplant recipients who developed a primary CMV infection and healthy CMV serum-positive or -negative individuals. Primary CMV infection induced a clear proinflammatory response that was maintained during latency. This response was characterized by increased levels of acute phase proteins, such as serum amyloid-A and C-reactive protein, and type 1 cytokines, such as interleukin-18, interferon-inducible protein-10, and interferon-gamma. This continuous activation of the immune system may play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic allograft rejection and potentially contribute to the acceleration of chronic diseases.