Cytomegalovirus - A Chronic Lyme Disease Coinfection and Cancer-Causing Agent


Approximately 80 percent of adults in the United States are infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a disease that affects most people across the globe. CMV is a member of the herpes family and shares the common ability to remain alive, yet dormant, in the human body for the life of its human host. Rarely does CMV become active unless the immune system is weakened and is rendered unable to hold the virus in check. Trauma or spreading the immune system too thin with complex conditions such as Lyme disease could awaken CMV.

CMV is spread from person to person through direct contact as the virus is present in various bodily fluids, including urine, blood, saliva, semen, cervical secretions and breast milk. It can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. The best way to prevent contracting CMV is through good hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing.

Pathogenesis of CMV

The CMV genome is composed of lineal, double-stranded DNA and surrounded by a protein lining called a "matrix," which contains phosphoproteins that are highly capable of deregulating the host's cellular cycle. This lining is surrounded by glycoproteins necessary for various aspects of the virus's infectivity, including entrance to the host cell, cell-to-cell dissemination and maturation.

The fusion between the virus with the cell is mediated by the viral glycoprotein. The fusion is followed by the entrance of the nucleocapsid and protein lining of the host cell cytoplasm. The nuclei are quickly translocated, an infection marker which may be detected in serum within an hour. The main reservoirs of CMV are the fibroblasts, myeloid cells and endothelial cells. The infection of endothelial cells and macrophages plays an important role in latency and seems to be critical for maintaining CMV in the host.

Replication typically begins within 12-24 hours after cell infection and the cytopathic effect in the viral culture can be seen after 7-14 days. As with other herpes viruses, CMV invades the host cell, inhibits protein synthesis and liberates viral DNA to the nuclei where replication can begin. A strategy CMV shares with other herpes viruses is its ability of thwarting its host's immune response by inhibiting RNA formation, thereby blocking the presentation of antigenic peptides on the cells' surface and preventing apoptosis. These mechanisms can prompt a latent infection to reactivate, oftentimes in transplant recipients.

Weakened Immune Systems are Part of this Disease

CMV is relatively harmless in most people. However, for those who already possess a weakened immune system, the virus can cause severe disease. Those who are at the greatest risk for active CMV infections and its resultant complications are as follows:

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Persons with HIV infections
  • Babies born to women exposed to CMV during pregnancy
  • Those suffering with chronic infections such as Chronic Lyme disease or other zoonotic infections

Symptoms Related to CMV

The signs and symptoms of a CMV infection in children and adults include: prolonged high fever; chills; severe fatigue; an overall ill feeling; swollen lymph glands; headache; and an enlarged spleen. People with weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious complications including pneumonia, liver infection, anemia and in some cases, death.


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[2] Slobedman, B., Cheung, A.K. Microarrays for the study of viral gene expression during human cytomegalovirus latent infection. Methods Mol. Med. 2008; 141: 153-75.

[3] Domenech, E., et al. Cytomegalovirus infection in ulcerative colitis: A prospective, comparative study on prevalence and diagnostic strategy. Inflamm.Bowel Dis. 2008 May 1 (Epub).


[5] Trends Transplant. 2009

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[9] Viral and bacterial aetiologies of epithelial Ovarian Carcinoma

[10] Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, Tamilnadu, India.

This article was published by Envita Medical Center - They gave me permission to repost it here. Thanks Envita!

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