Infectious Disease Compendium

Parvovirus B19


A virus.

Epidemiologic Risks

Life. Can't live without it. Half of 15 year olds are seropositive (but which half). Spread by respiratory droplets and highly infectious.


- Fifths disease: (aka slapped cheek). Fevers and a face rash in children.

- Anemia: Parvovirus kills red cell stem cells (and I have seen it wack WBC's as well). If the patient relies on increased output to maintain their HCT (ex: sickle cell) they can become acutely anemic. Treatment is supportive. AIDS patients can get severe refractory anemia with a parvovirus infection as they do not make antibody. AIDS patients are seronegative and the diagnosis is made by bone marrow biopsy that shows giant pronormoblasts or PCR on blood for parvovirus.

- In transplant patients, acute Parvovirus B19 can cause a pancytopenia and can only be diagnosed with PCR (PubMed).

- Hydrops fetalis: anemia in the fetus.

- Polyarticular small joint arthritis: in the adult.

- Rarely encephalitis (PubMed), meningitis, stroke, pneumonia, and peripheral neuropathy (PubMed).


Serology and PCR.


None for normal hosts. The treatment for AIDS and transplant patients is IVIG 0.4 g per kg for 5 to 10 days (PubMed); they may relapse and require repeat treatment; may also get Fifths with the IVIG.


It was discovered on position 19 on plate B.