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Blood test for CMV positive and spinal tap negative. What does this mean?

Answered by
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15761 Questions

Posted on Thu, 31 Jan 2013 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
Question: My blood test for CMV is positive for both IgG and IgM but my spinal tap is negative. What does it mean?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 5 hours later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

The spinal tap assesses the fluid surrounding the spinal cord and the brain, it is most commonly done to check for meningitis. A negative tap indicates that the bacteria was not found in this particular fluid so there is no infection of the brain or spinal cord.

The blood test is looking at the rest of the body- it would give an indication of possible infection in any other areas.
IgM is the antibody that is seen or responds first in infections because it is responsible for early elimination of the bacteria. Its presence indicates that the infection is not one that us likely to have been present for a extended period.
IgG appears after 24 to 48 hrs .

So there is an infection but it does not extend to your brain or spinal cord.

Hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 15 hours later
With the spinal tap, some specific tests were done:

PCR Herpes (HSV1): 0
PCR Herpes (HSV2): 0
PCR enterovirus: negative
PCR Cytomegalovirus: 0

what does it mean specifically? Thanks!
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 6 hours later
Hi, sorry about the delayed reply

PCR describes the method or machine in which the test was done.
There are two herpes viruses, herpes 1 and herpes 2. Herpes 1 is mainly responsible for the oral/mouth lesions that persons commonly have and herpes 2 is mainly responsible for genital herpes.
Enterovirus is another virus that can be associated with infections of the respiratory system, the brain and spinal cord and rarely the heart.
The zeros and negative beside each of the above viruses indicates that none were detected in the spinal tap.

Feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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