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- Tue Dec 02, 2003 7:12 pm
I would greatly appreciate any answers that may be provided. My sister died in 1983. She had guillian barre. While in the hospital she came down with meningitis and CMV. I was told then (20 yrs ago) that CMV is a rare virus that attacks the brain of fetuses (excuse my spelling)? The hospital told us that they suspected that my sister contracted the virus in the pediatric ICU unit. Tho she was 18 yrs. at the time because of space at the hospital she stayed over night in the unit. Now Im reading that CMV is not all that rare and that it can lay dormant in the body for years? Has this just been discovered in the last 20 years or was I misinformed? In 1981 my sister gave birth to a little girl who suffers from seizure disorders and mental retardation. Ive read so much lately, Im just wondering if there could be a link? And almost every article I read mentions the aids virus that my sister did not have. Ive also read that it can be an std? They told us that she would be put in medical journals because of her brain scans and other oddeties that went along with her 7 month stay in ICU. I have recently discovered that the majority of patients with Guillain barre survive. Looking back it seemed like we were the only people in the world going thru all of this and it all was illnesses that we had never heard of except for the meningitits.
| Dr. Tamer Fouad
- Thu Jan 08, 2004 5:34 pm
CMV is indeed a life-long virus that can stay dormant for years. It can cause affection of the fetal brain if infection occurs during intrauterine life. 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 (transplant patients, AIDS patients), it produces widespread visceral involvement with fever, interstitial pneumonitis (diagnosed by transbronchial biopsy), hepatitis, hemorrhage, gastroenteritis, choroidoretinitis (inflammation of the eye).
Guillain Barre is also known as post-infectious polyneuropathy. Was she daignosed to have CMV based on serological testing? As the name indicates the disease usually follows infection. Several viruses are commonly associated with Guillain Barre, HIV being the commonest. Epstein Barr (infectious mononucleosis) is also associated with polyneuropathy.
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