Cytomegalovirus, Neurological Consequences of

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What is cytomegalovirus? 

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that infects between 50 to 80 percent of all adults in the U.S. by age 40. CMV is in the same family of viruses that causes cold sores (herpes simplex virus), infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), and chickenpox/shingles (varicella zoster virus).

Some infants are infected with the virus before birth. Some people never develop symptoms. People with a compromised immune system may have more severe forms of infection involving the nervous system. Neurological complications of CMV may include:

  • Intellectual disability
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Seizures

Other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, tender lymph nodes, and muscle aches and pains. Some people with a compromised immune system may have more severe forms of infection involving the nervous system.

The virus remains in the person for life and can reactivate. Currently there is no vaccine for CMV. Treatment is supportive for symptoms.

Learn About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

How can I or a loved one help improve care for people with cytomegalovirus?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about CMV and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with CMV at

Where can I find more information about cytomegalovirus?

Information may be available through the following organization:

National CMV Foundation

Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.