Parpovirus b19 infection

Parpovirus b19 infection: prevention and treatment

Parpovirus B19 infection causes an infection called Erythema Infectiosum. In adults it can cause a symptomless or mild infection. Approximately 50% of pregnant women have already passed the infection at some point in their lives and are already immunized.

Parvovirus B19 infection   in adults can cause a symptomless or mild infection. Approximately 50% of pregnant women have already passed the infection at some point in their lives and are already immunized.

It is a typically childhood infection, with a higher incidence between 4 and 14 years of age, which causes fever, sore throat and joint pain. Children develop a pink rash on the cheeks “like a slap in the face.”

The infection is passed once in a lifetime.

Symptoms of parvovirus infection

Most pregnant women who become infected with parvovirus B19 have healthy babies. In less than 5% of cases it can cause spontaneous abortions. The highest risk of stillbirth from Erythema Infectiosum is in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In severe cases, parvovirus B19 infection can cause inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) and bone marrow damage in the baby (causing very severe anemia). If the damage to the heart is very severe, it can cause hydrops fetalis (excessive accumulation of fluid in the baby’s tissues). Hydrops can be diagnosed and monitored by ultrasound during pregnancy; in some cases it disappears and the baby is born without sequelae. In others, it can cause the death of the fetus.

Most infected babies are born without problems and healthy.

Diagnosis

The gynecologist can find out the immune status of the pregnant woman by requesting a blood test.

Prevention and treatment

There is no treatment or vaccine for this viral infection. The evolution of the fetus can only be controlled if there has been a maternal infection. In cases of hydrops and severe anemia there are no effective treatments.

For pregnant women who work with children (nurseries, hospitals, schools) it is advisable to take extreme hygiene measures: wash your hands very well and do not share drinks or food with the children.

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