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Among the human herpesviruses, cytomegalovirus (CMV) arguably exerts the greatest impact on human health. CMV infections are ubiquitous in nature, and usually asymptomatic. However, several high-risk patient populations are particularly vulnerable to the impact of CMV. HIV-infected patients have long been recognized to have significant CMV-associated disease, in particular sight-threatening retinitis. Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) and solid organ transplant (SOT) patients are predisposed to have CMV-associated morbidity and mortality. Pregnant women are also a highly vulnerable group for CMV infection, since maternal-fetal transmission may lead to disease in the neonate and attendant long-term disability, in particular sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Although the impact of CMV has historically been under-recognized, particularly in newborns, increased knowledge and awareness is driving efforts to develop vaccines for CMV. Antiviral therapies are also available, and are used in immune compromised patients and some infants. This article reviews the biology and medical significance of CMV and identifies high-priority areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Infection and Immunity
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780128187319
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Antiviral therapy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Congenital infections
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Herpesvirus infections
  • Herpesvirus vaccines
  • Infections in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) patients
  • Infections in Solid Organ Transplant (SOT) patients
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)
  • TORCH infection
  • Viral glycoprotein


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