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Parvovirus B19 and Other Illnesses

Fifth disease is the most common illness caused by parvovirus B19 infection...

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Parvovirus B19 infection can 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 (TAC), hydrops fetalis, congenital anemia, pure red cell aplasia, or long-lasting or chronic anemia. These illnesses are not as common as fifth disease. But, they are more serious and usually affect people who have

  • sickle cell disease or similar types of long-lasting anemia or problems producing red blood cells, or
  • weakened immune systems caused by leukemia, cancer, organ transplants, or HIV infection.

People with these illnesses can become very sick from the severe anemia caused by parvovirus B19 infection.

If you have TAC or other illnesses caused by parvovirus B19 infection, you can potentially spread the virus to others. For more information, see Prevention & Treatment.

You may want to talk to your healthcare provider if you have a weakened immune system, sickle cell disease or a similar long-lasting anemia and you—

  • have been exposed to someone with fifth disease or
  • have an illness that might be caused by parvovirus B19.

Your healthcare provider may want to test your blood to see if you have parvovirus B19 infection.

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