Positive IGG cytomegalovirus

of an individual, IgG immunoglobulins against Cytomegalovirus are present; this serological finding indicates that the patient has contracted the Cytomegalovirus infection in the past, so much so that he has developed a reassuring immune memory on the occasion of possible second exposures.

Brief recall of cytomegalovirus

Cytomegalovirus is a very common genus of virus, belonging to the large family of herpes viruses, just like the most famous herpes simplex, the chickenpox virus and the Epstein-Barr virus.
In healthy people, cytomegalovirus is responsible for asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections that resolve spontaneously and have no long-term consequences. Due to these characteristics, the Cytomegalovirus could be of little interest from a medical-clinical point of view, were it not for the fact that it is capable of:

  • "Hiding" in the cells of the human being's bone marrow (example of viral latency), only to reactivate in case of generalized reduction of the immune defenses

And

  • Cause serious consequences, the moment it infects
    • people with inefficient immune systems, such as AIDS patients or organ transplant recipients,
    • pregnant women
    • (N.B: if in the first case the serious consequences directly affect the infected person, in the second case they are to the detriment of the future unborn child).
they consist in the inoculation of important portions of an infectious agent, with the aim of stimulating the immune system to produce an antibody barrier (IgG precisely) against the aforementioned infectious agent.

When is it important to know to be Cytomegalovirus IgG positive?

In light of the danger of a "Cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy, knowing that you are Cytomegalovirus IgG positive is particularly important for women who want to have a child.
In fact, the positivity to IgG against Cytomegalovirus indicates that the virus in question no longer represents a serious threat on the occasion of a "possible pregnancy, since the immunity that has formed represents an indirect protection for the fetus."
At this point, it is worth remembering what negativity to an IgG assessment test against Cytomegalovirus entails and what positivity to an antibody assessment very similar to the previous one entails, which however quantifies the so-called IgM or immunoglobulin M:

  • Meaning of Cytomegalovirus IgG negative: who is Cytomegalovirus IgG negative is an individual who has never contracted Cytomegalovirus infection in the past.
    However, the fact of being Cytomegalovirus IgG negative does not exclude that a “Cytomegalovirus infection is in progress.
  • Meaning of Cytomegalovirus IgM positive: who is Cytomegalovirus IgM positive is an individual who is facing a "Cytomegalovirus infection at the time of the antibody evaluation or who has dealt with it very shortly before (less than a week ago).
    After all, IgM are the antibodies that the human being produces on the occasion of the encounter with a new infectious agent or, if you prefer, on the occasion of the first encounter with a given infectious agent.

In the table below, readers can consult all the possible implications of the two antibody evaluations mentioned above, relative to Cytomegalovirus, thus realizing when a certain situation is dangerous during a pregnancy and when it is not. It is important to underline that, for a woman wishing to have a child, the knowledge of both antibody profiles, therefore both IgG and IgM, is essential.


Results of antibody evaluations

Interpretation with a view to a "possible pregnancy

Negative IgM
Negative IgG

It means that the woman examined has never contracted the Cytomegalovirus infection. Therefore, this subject must pay particular attention to certain hygiene rules and avoid all situations that expose the Cytomegalovirus infection (see in-depth).

Negative IgM
Positive IgG

It means that the woman examined has contracted Cytomegalovirus infection in the past and that this infection is not ongoing at the time of the antibody evaluations.
For a woman desiring a child, the one described above is the most reassuring situation.

Positive IgM
IgG negative

It means that the woman examined had never contracted the Cytomegalovirus infection in the past and that she is facing it at the time of the antibody evaluations (or she has dealt with it a short time before).
A very rare event, the one just described strongly advises against the search for a pregnancy, at least until the presence of IgG is certain (for the production of these, a couple of weeks must pass from when the IgMs are found).

Positive IgM
Positive IgG

It means that the woman examined has contracted the Cytomegalovirus infection in a fairly recent past.
This conclusion depends on the fact that IgM, produced during an "infection, disappear within 3-4 months.
The situation described above is a dubious circumstance, which deserves further investigation aimed at understanding what the real risk is, in the event of a pregnancy.


For further information: Cytomegalovirus and pregnancy

Antonio Griguolo

Graduated in Biomolecular and Cellular Sciences, he obtained a Specialized Master in Journalism and Institutional Communication of Science
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