Diagnosis

Test results for CMV can be misleading. Blood can be tested for the CMV antibody, but all the presence of antibody indicates is that there was an earlier infection. The test will not reveal whether the virus is presently active in blood, urine, or saliva. If a patient has symptoms that imply a recently acquired infection, sequential tests may reveal changes in antibody levels that indicate an active infection. However, since these changes can be hard to distinguish from normal fluctuations, researchers are trying to develop tests that are more specific.

The test for virus in these fluids is available in most large hospital and commercial labs, but results may take between two and six weeks.

Newborns with possible congenital CMV infection must have virus cultured from their urine, nose, eyes, or spinal fluid to confirm CMV, which can be helpful in diagnosing potential problems such as hearing loss. Researchers are now refining tests that would measure CMV in saliva.

In patients with impaired immunity, tests can be helpful to measure the effectiveness of therapy.

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