In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a wide-spread virus, with manifestations ranging from asymptomatic to severe end-organ dysfunction in immunocompromised patients with congenital CMV disease.

Human cytomegalovirus is a member of the viral family known as herpesviruses, Herpesviridae, or human herpesvirus-5 (HHV-5).

Human cytomegalovirus infections commonly are associated with the salivary glands. CMV infection may be asymptomatic in healthy people, but it can be life-threatening in an immunocompromised patient. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection can cause morbidity and even death. After infection, CMV often remains latent, but it can reactivate at any time. Eventually, it causes mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and it may be responsible for prostate cancer.

CMV infects between 60% to 70% of adults in industrialized countries and close to 100% in emerging countries. Of all herpes viruses, CMV harbors the largest number of genes dedicated to evading innate and adaptive immunity in the host. CMV represents a lifelong burden of antigenic T-cell surveillance and immune dysfunction. Congenital CMV is a leading infectious cause of deafness, learning disabilities, and intellectual disability.

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