Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that belongs to the herpes family of viruses. It's spread through bodily fluids, such as saliva and urine, and can be passed on through close contact with young children, such as when changing nappies.
CMV can also be passed on through kissing, having sex, or receiving an infected organ during an organ transplant.You can get CMV at any age, but many people are first infected during childhood and are unaware they've been infected.
When you develop a CMV infection for the first time, it's known as primary CMV. It's thought that 50-80% of adults in the UK are infected with CMV.
Once you've been infected, the CMV virus stays in your body for the rest of your life, but in most cases it remains inactive and doesn't cause further problems.
However, CMV can sometimes be reactivated (recur). This usually only occurs in people who have a weakened immune system – for example, due to untreated HIV or taking immunosuppressant medication to prevent transplanted organs being rejected.
It's also possible to become infected again with a different strain of the CMV virus. This is known as reinfection and usually causes similar symptoms to a primary infection.
“Active CMV” is a term that describes someone who's infectious to another person and can be due to primary infection, reinfection or reactivation.
Cytomegalie-virus antibodies (LDC25)
Laboratory: BCA Clinic
Test Area: Viral
Test Type: Whole Blood