Assessment of the specificity of a commercial human parvovirus B19 IgM assay

Clin Diagn Virol. 1997 Feb;7(3):133-7. doi: 10.1016/s0928-0197(96)00262-0.


Background: It is important to investigate a possible cross-reaction of anti-rubella IgM in the IDEIA Parvovirus B19 IgM test because many B19 infections are either asymptomatic or have clinical symptoms similar to those of rubella virus infections. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) IgM, cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgM, measles IgM and rheumatoid factor (RF) IgM cross-reactions were also studied.

Objectives: In the period from February to September 1994 (including a parvovirus B19 epidemic) more than 10,000 serum samples were examined for parvovirus B19 IgM in Denmark. This gave an opportunity to evaluate the commercial IDEIA Parvovirus B19 ELISA kit (DAKO A/S, Glostrup, Denmark), which was used routinely at Statens Serum Institut from the beginning of 1994 and onwards.

Study design: A total of 123 parvovirus B19 IgM positive sera were tested for reactivity in rubella IgM EIA. A total of 78 rubella IgM positive sera, 60 EBV VCA-IgM positive sera, 30 CMV IgM positive sera and 24 measles virus IgM positive sera were tested for reaction in IDEIA Parvovirus B19 IgM test. Finally, 25 parvovirus IgM positive sera were tested for specific IgM against measles virus, EBV (VCA), CMV and for RF.

Results: One anti-B19 IgM positive serum sample reacted positively in the rubella IgM test. Of rubella IgM positive serum samples 4% cross-reacted in IDEIA Parvovirus B19 IgM test, as did 17 and 20% of EBV VCA-IgM and CMV IgM positive serum samples respectively. None of measles virus IgM positive serum samples cross-reacted in the IDEIA Parvovirus B19 IgM test. Of 25 initially parvovirus B19 IgM positive sera 20% cross-reacted in EBV VCA IgM test and 8% in the CMV IgM test. None reacted positively in measles virus IgM test; 28% showed weak reactivity in RF IgM test.

Conclusions: Precautions must be taken when results of IgM assays are interpreted. Epidemiological and clinical observations must be considered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Antibody Specificity / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / statistics & numerical data
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis*
  • Measles virus / immunology
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / chemistry*
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / immunology*
  • Rubella virus / immunology
  • Serologic Tests / statistics & numerical data


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin M