Cytomegalovirus Antibodies (IgG, IgM)

The Cytomegalovirus Antibodies (IgG, IgM) test contains 1 test with 2 biomarkers.

Description: The cytomegalovirus antibodies test is used to detect antibodies to cytomegalovirus in the blood’s serum from a recent or past infection.

Also Known As: CMV Test, CMV Antibodies Test, CMV IgG IgM Test, Cytomegalovirus Test, Cytomegalovirus IgG IgM Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Cytomegalovirus Antibodies test ordered?

When a younger person, a pregnant woman, or an immune-compromised individual exhibits flu- or mono-like signs and symptoms, CMV tests, as well as tests for influenza, mononucleosis, and EBV, may be requested.

When a health care provider is assessing the effectiveness of antiviral therapy, one or more CMV tests might be requested at regular intervals.

CMV antibody testing may be requested as a screening test to discover if a person has been exposed to CMV in the past when they are a candidate for an organ or marrow transplant.

What does a Cytomegalovirus Antibodies blood test check for?

Cytomegalovirus is a widespread virus that is found all over the world but only rarely causes symptoms. CMV infection affects between 50 and 85 percent of individuals in the United States. The majority of persons get infected as children or young adults and have no noticeable symptoms or health problems.

CMV testing entails measuring CMV antibodies, immunological proteins produced in response to CMV infection, or detecting the virus itself. Culturing CMV or detecting the virus's genetic material in a fluid or tissue sample might be used to identify the virus during an active infection.

During an active infection, CMV can be discovered in a variety of body fluids, including saliva, urine, blood, breast milk, sperm, vaginal secretions, and cerebrospinal fluid. Close personal touch or interaction with infected materials, like as diapers or toys, makes it easy to spread to others. CMV, like other members of the herpes family, becomes dormant or latent after the initial "primary" infection has cured. Unless a person's immune system is considerably impaired, cytomegalovirus can live in them for the rest of their lives without creating any symptoms. The virus may reactivate if this occurs.

In three scenarios, CMV can cause serious health problems:

  • Primary CMV infection in young adults can induce a flu-like or mononucleosis-like disease. Extreme weariness, fever, chills, body pains, and/or headaches are common symptoms of this ailment, which normally goes away in a few weeks.
  • Primary CMV infection in babies can result in major physical and developmental issues. This happens when a pregnant woman becomes infected for the first time and then distributes the infection to her unborn child through the placenta. Most infected neonates appear healthy at birth, but within a few months, they may develop hearing or vision abnormalities, pneumonia, convulsions, and/or impaired mental development. Some babies are stillborn, while others show signs including jaundice, anemia, an enlarged spleen or liver, and a small head when they are born.
  • CMV can cause significant disease and death in people who have weaker immune systems. This includes those living with HIV/AIDS, people who have undergone organ or bone marrow transplants, and people who are receiving cancer chemotherapy. People with weakened immune systems who become infected for the first time may have the most severe symptoms, and their CMV infection may be active for a long time. Those who have previously been exposed to CMV may experience reactivation of their infection. Their eyes, digestive tract, lungs, and brain could all be affected. Spleen and liver problems are also possible, and people who have had organ or bone marrow transplants may have some rejection. Active CMV also weakens the immune system, making it easier for secondary infections like fungal infections to develop.

Lab tests often ordered with a Cytomegalovirus antibodies test:

  • Epstein Barr Virus Antibodies
  • Herpes 1 and 2
  • Varicella Zoster Virus

Conditions where a Cytomegalovirus antibodies test is recommended:

  • Epstein Barr Virus
  • HIV
  • Herpes
  • Chicken Pox and Shingles

How does my health care provider use a Cytomegalovirus antibodies test?

Cytomegalovirus testing is performed to see if someone has an active CMV infection based on their signs and symptoms. It's sometimes ordered to see if someone has ever been infected with CMV before.

CMV is a widespread virus that affects a large percentage of the population but rarely produces symptoms or serious health concerns. In neonates and persons with weaker immune systems, such as transplant recipients, cancer patients, people taking immunosuppressive medicines, and people living with HIV, primary CMV infection can cause serious sickness and consequences.

Antibody testing on blood samples can be used to detect if someone has been exposed recently or previously. IgM and IgG are the two types of CMV antibodies produced in response to a CMV infection, and one or both might be seen in the blood.

The first antibodies produced by the body in response to a CMV infection are IgM antibodies. Within a week or two of the initial exposure, they are present in the majority of people. Antibody production of IgM increases for a brief period before declining. CMV IgM antibody levels frequently decline below detectable levels after many months. When latent CMV is triggered, more IgM antibodies are generated.

The body produces IgG antibodies several weeks after the original CMV infection, which defend against secondary infections. IgG levels rise during active infection, then level off as the CMV infection fades and the virus becomes dormant. After being exposed to CMV, a person's blood will contain quantifiable amounts of CMV IgG antibodies for the rest of their lives. Along with IgM testing, CMV IgG antibody testing can be used to establish the existence of a current or previous CMV infection.

CMV antibody testing can be used to determine immunity to primary CMV infections in people who are awaiting organ or bone marrow transplantation, as well as in HIV/AIDS patients. CMV infection is common and causes minimal difficulties in those with healthy immune systems, hence general population screening is uncommon.

What do my CMV IgG and IgM test results mean?

When interpreting the findings of CMV testing, caution is advised. The results are compared to clinical data, such as signs and symptoms, by a health professional. It's not always easy to tell the difference between a latent, active, or reactivated CMV infection. This is attributable to a number of factors, including:

A healthy individual who has been infected with CMV will carry the virus for the rest of their lives. CMV can reactivate on a regular basis, frequently in a subclinical manner, shedding small amounts of virus into body fluids but causing no symptoms.

Even if the individual has an active case of CMV, an immune-compromised person may not have a significant antibody response to the infection; the person's IgM and IgG levels may be lower than predicted.

It's possible that the virus isn't present in large enough numbers in the fluid or tissue being analyzed to be detected.

A symptomatic person with positive CMV IgG and IgM has most likely been exposed to CMV for the first time or has had a previous CMV infection reactivated. IgG levels can be measured again 2 or 3 weeks later to confirm this. A high IgG level is less essential than an increasing level. If the IgG level in the first and second samples differs by fourfold, the person is infected with CMV.

A positive CMV IgM and negative IgG indicates that the person was infected recently.

In someone who is symptomatic, a negative IgG and/or IgM or low levels of antibodies may indicate that the person has a problem other than CMV or that their immune system is not responding correctly.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: CMV Antibody IgG, IgM, CMV IgG, IgM Abs, Cytomegalovirus Antibodies IgG IgM



*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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