Cytomegalovirus infection in sex partners: evidence for sexual transmission

J Infect Dis. 1985 Feb;151(2):344-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/151.2.344.


To examine the hypothesis that cytomegalovirus (CMV) is sexually transmitted, we determined the prevalences of antibody to CMV and viral shedding in 63 male sex partners of women with or without CMV infection, and CMV isolates from infected couples were compared by DNA restriction enzyme analysis. The prevalence of seropositivity by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was 31 (74%) of 42 men whose female partners were seropositive compared with five (31%) of 16 men whose partners were seronegative (P = .008). CMV was isolated from the semen or urine of four (22%) of 18 men whose female partners shed CMV from the cervix or urine compared with none of 42 whose partners were culture negative (P = .013). DNA restriction enzyme typing of CMV isolates from three pairs of sex partners showed that two of the couples were infected with common strains; epidemiologically unrelated isolates gave distinct patterns. Heterosexual contact is a major mode of transmission of CMV among some young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Coitus*
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / microbiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / transmission*
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Semen / microbiology
  • Urine / microbiology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes