Parvovirus: the expanding spectrum of disease

Acta Paediatr. 1995 Feb;84(2):109-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1995.tb13591.x.


Treatment of parvovirus infections among immunocompromised hosts using immunoglobulin has provided the clinician with a useful therapeutic tool but has also highlighted the problems concerning chronic disease states. The discovery of the human parvovirus B19 in 1975 and subsequent studies of its effects in humans have identified this virus as the causative agent of a broad spectrum of diseases. Recent improvements regarding the development of sensitive PCR techniques and methods for cultivation have provided new insight into its pathogenic role, its virology and immunology, and the varied clinical manifestations. The current state of knowledge concerning parvovirus enabled us to divide the long list of diseases caused by this virus into three main categories: (1) disease found among normal hosts (asymptomatic disease, erythema infectiosum, arthropathy, hydrops fetalis), (2) hematologic diseases (aplastic crisis, chronic anemia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, transient erythroblastopenia of childhood, Diamond-Blackfan anemia) and, finally, (3) a heterogeneous group of diseases, in which the etiologic role of parvovirus is less clear and sometimes putative (neurologic disease, rheumatologic disease, vasculitic and myocarditic syndromes). In particular, arthropathy, hydrops fetalis and the hematologic disorders may be of pediatric concern. Consequently, it is of paramount importance that in all of these cases the clinician includes parvovirus as a differential diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Erythema Infectiosum* / diagnosis
  • Erythema Infectiosum* / epidemiology
  • Erythema Infectiosum* / therapy
  • Erythema Infectiosum* / virology
  • Hematologic Diseases / virology
  • Humans
  • Parvovirus B19, Human*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rheumatic Diseases / virology