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About Parvovirus B19

Parvovirus B19 (properly called human parvovirus B19) infects only humans. You can have different symptoms, depending on your age and overall health. But, many people do not have any symptoms, or they have only mild, nonspecific illness.

Fifth disease is the most common illness caused by parvovirus B19. This is a mild rash illness that usually affects children.

Parvovirus B19 infection can also cause painful or swollen joints (polyarthropathy syndrome), which is more common in adults. It can also cause the body to temporarily stop making new red blood cells. This can lead to transient aplastic crisis, hydrops fetalis, congenital anemia, pure red cell aplasia, or persistent anemia.

In parts of the world with temperate (varying) climates, people tend to get infected with parvovirus B19 more often in late winter, spring, and early summer. Local outbreaks of parvovirus B19 infection occur about every 3 to 4 years.

Pet dogs and cats can get infected with other parvoviruses that do not infect humans. Pets can be vaccinated to protect them from parvovirus infection.

Since parvovirus B19 only infects humans, a person cannot catch the virus from a dog or cat. Also, a dog or cat cannot catch parvovirus B19 from an infected person.