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Infectious Diseases

Should CMV make me feel THIS bad?

09/17/2001

Question:

I have just been diagnosed with a current cytomegalovirus infection. The main complaint that originally sent me to the doctor included joint pain (in my knees, spine, and hips especially) and a persistent low grade fever. While we waited for lab results, I was prescribed vioxx for the joint pain. Today, I was told that CMV was the cause of this pain and that I should continue to take the vioxx and wait things out. The vioxx is not helping much. I have back pain constantly. All the resouces I have found online about CMV indicate that most adult patients who are not immunosuppressed have virtually no symptoms with this infection. How likely is it that I have some other health issue causing the joint pain (or how likely that the virus really is the culprit here)? Should I request further exams/testing from my doctor or simply wait around hoping that I feel better soon?

Answer:

CMV can occasionally cause symptoms, and the range of symptoms can be quite broad. The most important thing to make sure is that the diagnosis is really accurate. Sometimes an antibody test called CMV IgG is ordered, and a positive IgG only indicates past infection with CMV, not current disease. However, if you had an elevated CMV IgM test result, then that indicates new (current) infection. There are treatments for CMV, but they have side effects and are not considered necessary in individuals who do not have immune system damage. If you really do have acute CMV, then all you can do is get treatment for the symptoms and wait it out. If Vioxx isn`t helping, ask your doctor to try something else.

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Response by:

Judith   Feinberg, MD Judith Feinberg, MD
Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati