Information for Healthcare Professionals

Product Brochure

CMV Product Brochure

Why monitor for CMV disease?

  • Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a herpes virus that infects between 50-85% of adults in the population.
  • HCMV, when transmitted during pregnancy, can cause significant congenital defects in new-born babies including hearing loss, vision impairment and mental retardation.
  • Infection with HCMV is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed patients, including:
    • organ and bone marrow transplant recipients
    • hemodialysis patients
    • cancer patients
    • patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs
    • HIV-infected patients
  • The majority of HCMV disease is caused by reactivation of a latent infection rather than by newly acquired virus, although infection can also be caused by transplant of organs or blood from a HCMV-infected donor.
  • Over 40% of AIDS patients and 30% of seronegative recipients organs from seropositive donors develop HCMV, and mortality can be as high as 80-90% in these groups.
  • Common manifestations of active HCMV infection include retinitis (which may cause blindness), hepatitis, cholangitis, encephalitis, pneumonitis, gastrointestinal ulcerations, colitis, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss and aggravation of other opportunistic infections such as Pneumocystis carinii.
  • Current immunosuppressive therapies used to prevent the rejection of a transplanted organ have detrimental effects upon the T-lymphocytes and cell-mediated immune responses, resulting in increased susceptibility to viral infections post-transplant.
  • The importance of T cell function in suppressing CMV replication is also highlighted by the fact that CD8+ CMV-specific CTL can protect against virus-associated pathogenesis.
  • Enumeration of CD8+ CMV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) in immunosuppressed patients and the production of IFN- can be predictive of the risk of developing CMV disease.
  • IFN- production can be a functional surrogate for the identification of CMV-specific CTLs.
  • Serially monitoring the level of anti-CMV immunity in persons at risk of developing CMV disease is likely to be important in predicting onset of disease, as loss of this immune function may be associated with development of CMV disease.