Cytomegalovirus - What is it?

Chad Carlson ccarlso2 at
Thu Jun 23 18:46:22 EST 1994

In article <2ub7qc$95g at>
robert1049 at (Robert1049) writes:

> Can someone please explain the cytomegalovirus to me?  How does it
> work?  What effects does it have upon the body?  What are the
> physiological and clinical results of exposure to this virus?  Is the
> immune system compromised?

CMV is a beta-herpes virus.  Once in the host cells (by a mechanism
that is not fully understood), it will remain latent until such time
that the body becomes immunosuppressed.  This has to be a "large scale"
type immunocompromised state as I understand, not just stress or the
like (eg HSV) rather, like AIDS or organ transplant.  There it is an
extremely common cause of death (eg in _Philadelphia_), usually through
a pneumocystic pneumonia.  CMV also causes birth defects (is a leading
cause actually), often problems with the eyes.  That's pretty much all
of the clinical side of this virus I am readily familiar with (I work
with it at the entry level in vitro).

Hope this helps.

Chad Carlson

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