Background: Human parvovirus (HPV) B19 infection produces a range of clinical manifestations including erythema infectiosum in children. Here we describe seven children who had acute hepatitis with HPV B19 infection.
Methods: Hepatic dysfunction was noted in three children referred to our hospital during the course of erythema infectiosum caused by HPV B19 infection diagnosed by ELISA and PCR. The role of HPV B19 in the pathogenesis of hepatic involvement was investigated retrospectively by PCR assay of stored serum samples from 773 patients admitted to our hospital.
Findings: 15 patients admitted to our hospital from January, 1991, to June, 1992, were HPV B19 DNA positive, of whom four had acute hepatitis of unknown origin. These four patients were aged between 7 months and 5 years. Of the seven patients, infection with hepatitis A, B, or C viruses or Epstein-Barr virus was ruled out in six by virological examinations.
Interpretation: Epidemiological evidence suggests that HPV B19 can be the cause of acute hepatitis.