Immunosuppressed COVID19 Patients May be at Risk of Developing Cytomegalovirus| Know More


COVID represents one of the greatest challenges to humanity in recent history. One of the striking features of this virus is its heterogeneous clinical response, with worse outcomes observed in people with underlying health conditions. To date, scientists are trying to understand the potential impact and determinants of risk in the long run. Every time, there are new variants and newer challenges that this virus poses in front of scientists and the medical fraternity. We have seen how the virus has given rise to secondary fungal infections. Experts are now worried about the latest threat- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) which is steadily rising among patients affected with COVID19.Also Read – Delhi Unlock: Shut For Violating Guidelines, Madangir Market to Reopen From Tomorrow

Dr. Kirti Sabnis, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospitals, Mulund & Kalyan says that some hospitals have already reported cases of rectal bleeding and abdominal pain in patients around 20-30 days after detection of COVID19. The reason behind it is the suppression of immunity due to COVID19 and excessive use of steroids that gives CMV a chance to attack patients. Also Read – Lockdown in Karnataka Will be Imposed Again if Guidelines Flouted, Warns Revenue Minister R Ashoka

What is Cytomegalovirus (CMV)? Also Read – School Reopening: Andhra Govt Allows Regular Classes to Resume From Aug 16, Online Classes From July 12

Cytomegalovirus is also known as CMV, or Human Herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5) is one of the most common persistent infections. Dr. Kirti explains that CMV infection occurs as a natural infection in childhood and remains asymptomatic in patients with normal immunity. Once infected, your body retains the virus for life. Most people don’t know they have CMV because it rarely causes problems in healthy people. It usually affects only when people become immunocompromised, such as those suffering from Cancer, AIDS, or those who have recently had transplants. A person can catch the CVM infection through contact with an infected person’s saliva, blood, urine, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk.

How Does COVID Cause CMV? 

COVID19 infection itself and the medicines used for its treatment (steroids) suppress the immunity of patients and make them susceptible to uncommon infections. “All patients presented with low lymphocyte count (6%-10% as against a normal of 20%-40%) indicating COVID-induced suppression of immunity can be predisposed to symptomatic reactivation of CMV infection,” Dr Kirti shared.

What are the symptoms of CMV? 

Most people with acquired CMV have no noticeable symptoms, but if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Swollen glands
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Low appetite and weight loss

The symptoms will generally go away after 2 weeks. However, symptoms of recurring CMV vary, depending on which organs the virus has affected. Areas likely to be affected are the eyes, lungs, or digestive system.

Typical features may include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea, Gastrointestinal Ulcerations, and Gastrointestinal Bleeding
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia with hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen
  • Mouth ulcers that can be large
  • Problems with vision, including floaters, blind spots, and blurred vision
  • Hepatitis, or inflamed Liver, with prolonged fever
  • Encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, leading to behavioral changes, seizures, and even coma

A person with a weakened immune system, who experiences any of these symptoms should seek urgent medical attention; people who have battled severe COVID19 should be especially cautious.


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