Parvovirus B19

Parvovirus B19 is a virus that causes a mild disease that is quite common in childhood and can result in a skin rash called megalaemia epidemic.

1 to 3% of women become infected during pregnancy and the rate of transmission of infection to the fetus is 15 to 30%.

Parvovirus B19 : What is it ?

Parvovirus B19 is a virus that causes a mild disease that is quite common in childhood and can result in a skin rash called megalaemia epidemic.

More than 50% of adults are protected against this virus (infection in childhood).
 

What are the symptoms ?

In adults, the infection is usually asymptomatic. An influenza-like syndrome (fever, headache) or arthralgia (joint pain), which may be accompanied by a rash, may be observed.

The rash is more common in children.


What is the risk to the foetus ?

The risk of transmission to the foetus is very low. Indeed, more than 1 in 2 women is protected. In case of transmission, there are no consequences for most fetuses. The infection can lead to spontaneous miscarriage in early pregnancy. In exceptional cases, parvovirus can cause effusions in the foetus, which the doctor will detect by ultrasound and which will require specialised follow-up and treatment.

The infection can lead to spontaneous miscarriage in early pregnancy. Exceptionally, parvovirus can cause fetal effusions, which the doctor will detect by ultrasound and which will require specialised follow-up and management.


Do I need to be tested ? 

Screening is not systematic. The doctor will ask for it according to the context.

The infection with Parvovirus B19 is done by research of specific antibodies (serology). The presence of IgG type antibodies means immunisation, i.e. protection.

The absence of antibodies indicates an absence of contact with the virus.

The presence of an infection during pregnancy will lead to regular monitoring, including ultrasound.
 

How to protect yourself ?

There is no vaccine against this virus. 
It is recommended to wash your hands thoroughly, especially if there are young children in the household or in the workplace.

Do you have any questions about parvovirus B19 ? Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor !

Ketterthill pregnancy booklet

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