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Disease Carriers

Viruses: Human Parvovirus B19

The most common manifestation of human parvovirus B19 infections is erythema infectiosm ("Fifth Disease"). This is characterized by mild symptoms, fever (in some patients) and a red rash on the face ("slapped cheek"). Arthralgia and arthritis have been seen occasionally in children and commonly in adults (particularly women).

However, human parvovirus B19 can also result in chronic infections in immunocompromised patients, and produce aplastic crisis in people with sickle-cell disease. Infection during pregnancy can cause fetal hydrops and fetal death (less than 10%).

Transmission is believed to be through respiratory secretions between humans, the only known reservoir for parvovirus B19. There are no known therapies; in most cases, supportive care is all that is required.

Human Parvovirus B19

A negatively stained preparation of parvovirus as seen by transmission electron microscopy. The individual virions have a diameter of only 22nm. (nm=one-millionth of a millimeter)