How does parvovirus B19 cause viral arthritis?

Updated: Nov 12, 2019
  • Author: Rabea Ahmed Khouqeer, MD, FRCPC, FAAAAI; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Parvovirus B19 is a small, single-stranded DNA virus that replicates in dividing cells and thus has a remarkable tropism for human erythroid progenitor cells. It may be responsible for about 12% of cases of sudden-onset polyarticular arthritis, especially in adults frequently exposed to children (eg, schoolteachers and pediatric nurses, who have a 50% risk of infection). Outbreaks of erythema infectiosum commonly occur in late winter and spring, but the condition can be observed during summer and fall, with sporadic cases occurring throughout the year.

Respiratory secretions are a vector for transmission. The use of blood products, especially clotting factor concentrates, is another mode of transmission. [4] Vertical transmission may occur from mother to fetus. The highest morbidity to the fetus is during the first or second trimester.

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