Preventing Parvovirus B19

Key points

  • There is no vaccine or treatment that can prevent parvovirus B19 infection.
  • Follow general respiratory precautions to prevent spread of parvovirus B19.
  • See your healthcare provider if you have complications from a parvovirus B19 infection or are infected while pregnant.
Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent Parvovirus B19.

How it spreads

Parvovirus B19 can spread from person to person through:

  • Respiratory particles
  • Blood or blood products
  • During pregnancy (from mother to baby)

Facts about Parvovirus B19 Infection‎

In the United States, people tend to get infected with parvovirus B19 more often in late winter, spring, and early summer. Minor outbreaks of parvovirus B19 infection occur about every 3 to 4 years.

Parvovirus B19 Only Infects People

Since parvovirus B19 only infects people, a person cannot get the virus from a dog or cat. Also, dogs and cats cannot get parvovirus B19 from an infected person. Dogs and cats can get infected with other parvoviruses that do not infect people.

Keep Reading: About Parvovirus B19

Risk to others

A person is most contagious during the first few days of symptoms. They are unlikely to be contagious after they get later symptoms such as rash and joint pains. It is usually safe to go back to work or school after the rash appears.

Persons who have a drop in blood count (anemia) may remain contagious until the blood count improves.

People with parvovirus B19 infection who have weakened immune systems may be contagious for a longer time.

Preventing respiratory viruses

There is no vaccine or treatment that can prevent parvovirus B19 infection.

To prevent spread of parvovirus B19, follow general recommendations for respiratory viruses:

  • Practice good hygiene (practices that improve cleanliness).
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
    • Learn and use proper handwashing technique. Frequent handwashing is especially important in childcare settings and healthcare facilities.
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces, such as countertops, handrails, and doorknobs, regularly.
  • Take steps for cleaner air.
  • When you have symptoms of a respiratory virus, take steps to prevent spread.