Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a herpes-type virus. It is related to the virus that causes chickenpox.
Infection with CMV is very common. It is spread by saliva, urine, respiratory droplets, sexual contact, and blood transfusions. Most people are exposed at some point, but most of the time the virus produces mild or no symptoms in healthy people.
Serious CMV infections can occur in people with weakened immune systems due to:
- Chemotherapy treatment for cancer
- Immune-suppressing medicines following an organ transplant
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
Rarely, serious CMV infection involving the GI tract has occurred in people with a healthy immune system.
The following increase your risk for CMV gastroenteritis/colitis:
- Bone marrow or organ transplant
- Medications that suppress the immune system