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Louise Sivak, M.D.
Louise Sivak, M.D., Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 3499
Experience:  Pediatrician, Board-certified in Hematology/Oncology
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I was just told I have cmv virus for swollen lymph nodes I

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I was just told I have cmv virus for swollen lymph nodes I have had for about 2 months? Does this make sense? How does this virus work? Do you get a test of positive if you just got the virus? What if you have had it a long time wouldn't you get a positive test then and it's not the reason of the swollen nodes? Worried about these glands. Thanks so much for an answer.


What type of test was done to diagnose the CMV?
When was the test done in relation to when you first noticed symptoms?
Thank you.

Louise Sivak, M.D.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I had swollen glands for about 2 weeks went to see doc, did mono test and he pretty much blew me off. Waited to see if got better for a few more weeks. Got nausa and fever a few days, went to ER. They did a CT scan and found I had swollen lymph nodes. That was all they said. Could be viral. I wasn't satisfied. Although nausea and fever went away lymph nodes still uncomfortable. Went back to doctor. He tested me for CMV. It came back positive. After about 2 weeks I feel better, but glands still swollen and very tired. Just thought it a strange thing to test for after reading about it?


Thank you for the helpful additional information.

There are a number of viruses that cause "mononucleosis-like" syndromes: extreme fatigue, muscle aches, +/- sore throat, +/- fever, swollen glands mainly in neck and inside abdomen. The virus most easily tested for is Epstein-Barr (EBV) which causes "mono" but CMV is in the same virus family and causes the same pattern of symptoms. We test for CMV one or both of two ways: blood test for actual CMV titer (amount in the blood sample) or indirectly by blood test for antibodies from your normal immune system fighting CMV recently (IgM) or sometime in the past (IgG). Comparing the relative amounts can tell us approx when you got the virus; most people have been exposed to CMV (and so have anti-CMV IgG for their lifetime) after age 10-12.

Any of these viruses can pretty much take a person down! It is not atypical to feel very tired for weeks, so try to give yourself time to recuperate. Get plenty of sleep if you can and try to eat healthy. It takes weeks for the swollen glands to decrease to normal size also and they may be a bit tender.

There is no specific treatment for these viruses.

If you feel worse in any way or your symptoms have not improved in 3-4 weeks, then it is worth calling your doctor again, but it can take some time to feel back to normal.

I hope this is helpful and please tell me if you have additional questions.


Louise Sivak, M.D.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'm sorry I'm still confused. Do the results of positive mean that the virus is active now regardless of when I contracted it? Or just that I have it in my system? If I just have it in my system how would a doctor know it is this virus causing my symptoms? Why would they even test for it? Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.


Great questions - sorry for the confusion.

Your doctor was smart to check for CMV when the EBV tests (I assume) came back showing no current or recent EBV. Your symptoms make total sense for "mono".

The "positive" result means (if i'm assuming right about what blood tests were done) that your blood shows recent CMV infection. Your swollen glands are your normal immune response fighting off the virus. Lymph nodes are collections of lymphocytes (infection fighting cells) so they swell with infections. The CMV is no longer active in your system, but evidence that it was there (your antibodies - like when you get a vaccine -) will be around for awhile.

Louise Sivak, M.D.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
This helps a lot. I understand now. Thanks again.

You are most welcome!

Hope you feel better soon,

Louise Sivak, M.D.