Benefits and Challenges in Commonly Employed Methods for Diagnosing Cytomegalovirus Infections

Wisdom Ebiye Sawyer1

Marcella Tari Joshua2

Nsikak Godwin Etim3

Miriam Uche Nwodo3

Sylvester Chibueze Izah4,Email

1Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
2Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Bayelsa Medical University, Yenagoa 569101, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
3Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Science, Niger Delta University Wilberforce Island Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
4Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Bayelsa Medical University, Yenagoa 569101, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

Abstract

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection can have serious consequences on humans, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems and unborn children exposed during pregnancy. Accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment, and various methods are utilised, each with advantages and disadvantages. This mini-review explores the benefits and challenges associated with these diagnostic methods. Despite drawbacks like labour- and time-intensive, viral culture is considered the gold standard as it involves cultivating the virus in a lab for precise identification. While Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) using Nucleic Acid Tests (NATs) are highly sensitive and provide quick results, they have limitations, such as the potential for false positives and the need for specialised equipment. Serological methods, including the enzyme-linked immunosorbent test, are crucial in identifying past infections, particularly in screening pregnant women. However, results in individuals with compromised immune systems may take time to finalise. Immunofluorescence tests and antigen detection technology offer rapid results and quantifiable data on viral load. Each CMV diagnostic technique has advantages and drawbacks, emphasising the importance of selecting the most appropriate method based on the specific clinical scenario. This approach ensures a timely and accurate diagnosis for effective management and therapy.

Benefits and Challenges in Commonly Employed Methods for Diagnosing Cytomegalovirus Infections