top of page

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Congenital CMV Infection Symptoms & causes

Food, Medicines, and Lies The Health Talk series by Dr. Priti

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus for people of all age groups. It’s not only adults who are affected but also children by the age of five can get the virus. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to a newborn. Once this virus enters the body it stays there for life and can reactivate any time. Most people with CMV infection have no or little symptoms and they aren’t aware that they have been infected.


CMV, these three letters can keep a person awake at night and can shake them to the core, most commonly for pregnant women. According to a 2016 Health Styles survey, only 9% of women were aware of CMV, yet it is more common than any other disease. It is a symptomless virus, or it may be present as a cold or flu.


In most healthy individuals, CMV infection does not cause severe symptoms, as the immune system effectively controls and suppresses the virus, leading to a latent, asymptomatic state.

However, CMV can become problematic in individuals with weakened or compromised immune systems, such as those with certain medical conditions, organ transplant recipients, or people with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, there has been research suggesting a potential link between CMV and autoimmunity.


Autoimmunity is a condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues and cells, causing various autoimmune diseases. The exact causes of autoimmune diseases are complex and not fully understood, but both genetic and environmental factors play a role. Some research has indicated that certain viral infections, including CMV, might trigger or contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases in susceptible individuals.


The proposed mechanisms linking Cytomegalovirus CMV to autoimmunity include:

  1. Molecular mimicry: Some viral proteins may resemble self-proteins, leading to a confused immune response. The immune system, while fighting the virus, may also attack similar-looking host tissues, leading to autoimmunity.

  2. Immune dysregulation: CMV infection can modulate the immune system, potentially disrupting the balance and leading to an increased risk of autoimmunity.

  3. Epigenetic changes: CMV infection could cause epigenetic modifications in host cells, influencing gene expression and potentially contributing to autoimmune disease development.

  4. Inflammation: CMV infection can induce a pro-inflammatory state, which, when chronic or excessive, may promote the development of autoimmune conditions.

  5. It is important to note that while some studies suggest a potential link between CMV and autoimmunity, the relationship is complex. Not everyone infected with CMV will develop autoimmune diseases, and many other factors contribute to the development of these conditions.

The treatment for CMV (Cytomegalovirus) infection can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the health status of the affected individual. In general, treatment options for CMV include antiviral medications, supportive care, and management of associated complications. Below is an overview of treatment approaches in Conventional and functional medicine:


Allopathic (Conventional Medicine) Treatment for Cytomegalovirus CMV:

Antiviral Medications: The mainstay of allopathic treatment for CMV involves the use of antiviral drugs. The most commonly prescribed antiviral medications for CMV include ganciclovir, valganciclovir, foscarnet, and cidofovir. These drugs help inhibit viral replication, reduce symptoms, and prevent complications in immunocompromised patients.


Supportive Care: Supportive measures are essential for managing CMV infections, especially in immunocompromised individuals. This may include maintaining proper hydration, providing adequate nutrition, and addressing specific symptoms or complications.


Prevention in Immunocompromised Patients: In some cases, preventive therapy with antiviral medications may be prescribed for individuals at high risk of CMV reactivation, such as organ transplant recipients.


Treatment for CMV-Related Complications: CMV infection can cause complications in various organs, such as the eyes, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Treatment will be targeted towards managing these specific complications as needed.


Functional Medicine Approach for Cytomegalovirus CMV:

Functional medicine takes a more holistic approach to healthcare and aims to identify and address the root causes of illnesses, rather than just treating symptoms. While functional medicine does not typically provide direct antiviral treatments like allopathy, it may play a role in supporting the overall health of an individual with CMV infection. Here are some functional medicine considerations:


Immune System Support: Functional medicine practitioners focus on optimizing the immune system's function through lifestyle modifications, diet, supplements, and stress management. A robust immune system is better equipped to control viral infections like CMV.


Nutritional Support: A balanced and nutrient-dense diet can contribute to overall health and support the immune system. Functional medicine may emphasize foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections. Stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness may be recommended.


Gut Health: Functional medicine often emphasizes the importance of gut health, as the gut plays a crucial role in immune function. Addressing gut imbalances may indirectly support the immune system's response to infections.


Lifestyle Modifications: Functional medicine may recommend lifestyle changes to improve overall well-being, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and reducing exposure to toxins.


Newer Advancements Cytomegalovirus CMV:

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that can have specific biological effects and are being investigated for various therapeutic purposes, including antiviral strategies.

Some areas of ongoing research regarding peptides and CMV include:

  • Peptide-Based Vaccines: Researchers are exploring the use of peptide-based vaccines to stimulate the immune system to target and eliminate CMV-infected cells. These vaccines aim to induce a specific T-cell immune response against CMV.

  • Peptide Inhibitors: Certain peptides may be designed to target viral proteins or enzymes involved in CMV replication, potentially inhibiting viral replication and reducing viral load.

  • Peptide-Drug Conjugates: Researchers are investigating the possibility of linking antiviral drugs with peptides to improve drug delivery and enhance their effectiveness against CMV.

I recommend staying updated with the latest scientific literature and discussing potential treatment options with a qualified healthcare professional or an infectious disease specialist. They can provide you with the most current information and guide you regarding appropriate treatment strategies for CMV infection.


Transmission:


CMV virus can be passed through body fluids such as saliva, urine, blood, semen, and breast milk. Congenital CMV, which commonly occurs when this virus is passed from a woman to her fetus, is very dangerous and can seriously affect the unborn child. It is the leading cause of non-genetic sensorineural hearing loss and is the second leading cause of intellectual disability after Down syndrome.


After Covid-19, it is seen that people are more prone to develop CMV, as Covid has compromised the immunity of individuals. During Covid-19 most of the patients have undergone steroid therapy which made their immune system more vulnerable and more at risk of the virus.


CMV reactivation is driven by inflammation and immune activation. It is also associated with hypertension, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, Myocardial infarction, and stroke.1,2,3


Symptoms Of Cytomegalovirus (CMV):

It may cause illnesses like:

- Fever

- Sore Throat

- Fatigue

- Swollen glands


Many people with CMV can also see symptoms affecting their eyes, lungs, liver, esophagus, stomach, and intestines, and this is most common in low/ weakened immunity cases.


Prevention of Cytomegalovirus (CMV):


By learning more about the virus and its impact one can slow the spread of CMV (cytomegalovirus).


Take control of your Health!

Have you ever been infected with CMV?

It can be tested through IgG and IgM antibody tests. It is a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose CMV infection.


References:

Hui J, Qu YY, Tang N, Liu YM, Zhong H, Wang LM, Feng Q, Li Z, He F. Association of cytomegalovirus infection with hypertension risk: A meta-analysis. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2016;128:586–591. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00508-016-0977-x

Sherman S, Eytan O, Justo D. Thrombosis associated with acute cytomegalovirus infection: A narrative review. Arch Med Sci. 2014;10:1186–1190. https://doi.org/10.5114/aoms.2014.47828

Elkind MS, Ramakrishnan P, Moon YP, Boden-Albala B, Liu KM, Spitalnik SL, Rundek T, Sacco RL, Paik MC. Infectious burden and risk of stroke: The northern Manhattan study. Arch Neurol. 2010;67:33–38. https://doi.org/10.1001/archneurol.2009.271




Consult with Dr. Priti Nanda Sibal a functional medicine doctor in Gurugram to discuss the potential benefits, risks, and appropriate treatment for CMV. She can guide you in making informed decisions and ensure safe and effective treatment.


Comentarios


bottom of page