Parvovirus B19 (B19) is a highly contagious human virus of the Parvoviridea family. It is the causative pathogen of a common childhood ailment, also known as Fifth Disease (erythema infectiosum) that causes a red rash on the face. It is generally a mild disease and requires little treatment if the patient is not immunocompromised. Immunocompromised adults can also be infected with Parvovirus B19 causing similar symptoms but can also include joint swelling and pain that is usually self-limited. Parvovirus B19 can also cause severe anemia in patients who require a continual rapid production of red blood cells such as those with sickle cell anemia, red blood cell enzymeopathies, and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. 50% of adults have been exposed to the virus and are immune. Parvovirus B19 infection is usually acquired by direct contact with respiratory droplets from infected individuals. During pregnancy, B19 virus may be transmitted to the fetus resulting in hydrops fetalis and intrauterine death. There is no vaccination for Parvovirus B19 so prevention is most important. Immunity status and/or past infection can be determined from Parvovirus B19 antibody testing. The test does not directly test for the virus, but tests for components of the immune system called immunoglobulins (Ig, also known as antibodies) that have been formed in response to the virus. The Igs are designated by letters, such as IgG, IgE, and IgM. The presence of Parvovirus B19 IgM antibodies indicates recent infection and the presence of IgG antibodies indicates immunity or past exposure.
Parvovirus B19 IgG and IgM testing is performed on a blood sample drawn from a vein in the patient’s arm. Additional tests may include Rubeola antibody, Rubella antibody, Varicella antibody, Mumps antibody, Parvovirus B19 DNA by PCR, Parvovirus tissue analysis, and CBC.
Reference ranges and specimen collection vary from test method and laboratories performing this test. To properly evaluate your test results, consult with the ordering physician or healthcare provider. If you would like to learn more about testing for Parvovirus IgG and IgM click here for further information or you can research one of the references listed below.