In healthy individuals infection is usually asymptomatic but in some cases it may cause an illness similar to infectious mononucleosis with glandular fever (fever and lymph gland enlargement) & atypical lymphocytes in the blood picture.
In immunocompromised patients, it produces widespread visceral involvement with fever, interstitial pneumonitis (diagnosed by transbronchial biopsy), hepatitis, hemorrhage, gastroenteritis, choroidoretinitis (inflammation of the eye).
Intraunterine infection results in microcephaly (small head), motor disorders (e.g paralysis), jaundice, hepatosplenomegaly (enlargement of the liver and spleen), thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) and hemolytic anemia (anemia as a result of breaking down of red blood cells).
Serological diagnosis: IgM antibodies denote current infection while IgG antibodies denote past infections. The virus can be identified in tissues by the presence of the characteristic intranuclear (owl's eye) inclusions and by direct immunofluorescence. It can also be cultured in the human embryo fibroblasts with immunofluorescent detection of antigens in the culture.
In immunocompetent individuals, no specific therapy is indicated and infection is self limited.
Gancyclovir is the treatment of choice in immunocompromised individuals.