Fetal brain infection with human parvovirus B19

Pediatr Neurol. 1999 Sep;21(3):661-3. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(99)00055-7.


Intrauterine parvovirus B19 infection is known to be one of the causes of hydrops fetalis. However, there are few reports of the pathologic changes in the central nervous system. Postmortem examination of a fetus revealed multinucleated giant cells of macrophage/microglia lineage and many small calcifications around the vessels, predominantly in the cerebral white matter. Parvovirus B19 genome DNA was detected in the nucleus of the multinucleated giant cells and solitary endothelial cells by polymerase chain reaction amplification and in situ polymerase chain reaction methods. Capsid antigen was also demonstrated in the cytoplasm of the endothelial cells by immunofluorescent assay. Thus, intrauterine B19 parvovirus infection could be associated with marked neuropathologic changes in the fetal brain at the midembryonal period. Neurologic follow-up of complications may be necessary for children who survive the intrauterine infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / virology*
  • Central Nervous System Viral Diseases / complications*
  • Central Nervous System Viral Diseases / pathology
  • Central Nervous System Viral Diseases / virology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Fetal Diseases / pathology
  • Fetal Diseases / virology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrops Fetalis / pathology
  • Hydrops Fetalis / virology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parvoviridae Infections / complications*
  • Parvoviridae Infections / pathology
  • Parvoviridae Infections / virology
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / virology