Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has emerged as an important cause of human illness. Infection with this common virus can result in asymptomatic infection, an acute “mononucleosis-like” illness, or congenital disease. It is capable of persisting in a latent state and reactivating at a later date. It can be transmitted by blood transfusion, organ transplantation, oral or genital contact, intrauterine infection, perinatal infection and perhaps casually by children in day care centers.
Historically, the first reports described “protozoan-like” cells in the organs of a fetus and a stillborn in 1904. In 1932, Farber reported the presence of inclusions in the nucleus and cytoplasm of cells in infants dying of various causes and coined the term cytomegalic inclusion disease. The urine was initially cultured in 1953 by Smith, and the subsequent development of serologic methods of diagnosis made its broad spectrum of disease more fully appreciated.