Five cases of another opportunistic virus Cytomegalovirus also known as CMV have been reported, with rectal bleeding in COVID-19 immunocompetent patients for the first time in post-COVID recovered patients.

Sir Gangaram Hospital has reported five patients with CMV and rectal bleeding so far. As per the hospital authorities, the five patients were presented with a mean of 20 to 30 days after the diagnosis of COVID-19 and none of them had other predisposing immunosuppressed states accounting for this viral infection.

It is a double-stranded DNA virus that has a tendency to remain in a latent form in the body in 80 to 90 per cent population.

Professor Anil Arora, Chairman, Institute of Liver Gastroenterology-Ganga Ram Hospital, told ANI, “It remains in complete harmony with the body’s defences but whenever for different reasons either because of the superimposed diseases like COVID-19 or because of the required therapy like immunosuppressive drugs like steroids that tend to decrease the immune system of the body, the dormant inactive takes a preposterous state and tries to damage the affected area of the body.”

Symptoms of CMV depend on which part of the body it is affecting. If it has direct involvement of lungs, patient will have a fever, difficulty in breathing, chest pain or cough. Our patients had abdominal pain loose motions and breathing from the rectum. It can involve multitude of organs of the body such as kidney or brain with specific symptoms, said the chairman.

The expert stated that it is a double whammy of immunosuppressive as well as the virus itself that causes suppression of the immunity. Possibly all these have led to resurgence of this opportunistic infection.

Most recommended steroids, Tocilizimab especially who are having dip in the oxygen or disease and plenty of them require hospitalization, said Dr Arora.

“It is a misuse of steroids in presence of a pandemic which possibly resulted in this type of opportunistic infection taking an upper hand,” Dr Arora said.

Out of five suffering from CMV, one died, another had to go for an operation and the rest three were cured via medicine.

In such cases, a high index of suspicion and timely intervention in the form of an early diagnosis and effective antiviral therapy can save many precious lives. (ANI)