Long-term outcome of children following maternal human parvovirus B19 infection

Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Jan;91(1):125-8. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(97)00575-9.


Objective: To determine the long-term outcomes of children exposed in utero to maternal parvovirus B19 infection.

Methods: All pregnant women with serologic evidence of recent parvovirus B19 infection and a comparison group with serologic evidence of past infection from January 1988 to December 1994 were sent questionnaires or contacted by phone about the health and development of their children. Information requested included: pregnancy complications, date of delivery, birth weight, sex, birth defects, need for special care, significant health problems, and developmental delays. All women had serology done at either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the virology laboratory of the Connecticut Department of Health. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi2 analysis with Fisher exact test, or Student t test in appropriate cases. P < .05 was considered significant.

Results: Outcome information was obtained from 113 of 117 immunoglobulin-M positive women. The 113 respondents had 103 term singletons, two sets of twins (of which one neonate died of complications of prematurity), one hydropic stillborn, four spontaneous abortions, and one ectopic pregnancy. The mean gestational age at time of exposure was 15.6 weeks. The median age of the liveborn infants in study and comparison groups was 4 years. Eight of the 108 (7.3%) surviving children, one set of twins (exposed at 27 weeks), and six singletons (exposed at 7, 8, 9, 20, 27, and 35 weeks) had developmental delays in speech, language, information processing, and attention. Outcomes were obtained for 99 of 110 patients with past infection; they had 83 liveborn singletons, five sets of twins, two stillborns, and five spontaneous abortions. Seven of the 93 (7.5%) children had developmental delays, similar to the study group. Post-hoc power analysis revealed that 712 infected patients would be needed to find a twofold difference in the risk of abnormal neurologic development; our study had 30% power to find such a difference.

Conclusion: There is no apparent increase in the frequency of developmental delays in children with exposure in utero to parvovirus, but larger studies are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Parvoviridae Infections*
  • Parvovirus B19, Human*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires