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What Are The First Symptoms Of Parvovirus B19 & How Do You Test For It?

Parvovirus B19 is a common infectious viral disease that is usually mild and can cause different signs and symptoms, depending on the infected person’s age and health condition.1

Classic symptoms of human parvovirus involve fever, nausea, body ache, and rhinorrhea which typically begins 5-7 days after the initial infection.2

Selection of the diagnostic test to diagnose parvovirus B19 is invariably dependent on the patient’s choice however blood test is the general test to examine the present and past infections.3,4

What Are The First Symptoms Of Parvovirus B19?

The infection begins with mild fever, headache, sore throat, and sore joints. When children are affected with parvovirus B19 they develop a bright red rash often referred to as slapped cheeks. 15-30 % of patients develop mild fever and rhinorrhea that develops after 5-7 days after the initial onset of infections.

These signs and symptoms correspond to initial viremia (a medical condition where viruses enter the bloodstream and spread to different parts of the body) but the condition resolves in 2-3 days. Approximately a week later, a bright red rash (a flushed appearance) appears on the cheeks that are contrasting vividly the color of the face.1

This eventually spreads to arms, trunk, thighs, and buttocks that can be itchy especially on the sole of the feet. There can be multiple recurrences of rashes for 2-3 weeks whenever the individual is exposed to extreme temperatures or sun exposure.

Less common symptoms include painful joints and severe anemia in patients who don’t have healthy and mature red blood cells. Some of these symptoms pertain for a lifetime in rare cases. Medical studies state the symptoms are often dependent on the patient’s age and health conditions.2

How Do You Test For Parvovirus B19?

Since parvovirus B19 affects only humans, you may not contract the infection from a dog or cat. However, when you exhibit the first symptoms of human parvovirus, your healthcare provider may suggest a blood test to determine if you are susceptible to this condition.

The blood test evaluates the current and past conditions of the patient’s infection. Although this is not a routine test, it is carried out under special circumstances to test the antibodies in the virus. Diagnostic tests are also dependent on the patient’s choice.

In most cases, blood tests are very helpful in pregnant ladies when they are exposed to parvovirus infection. When your blood tests show antibodies, you are immune to the virus. A future infection is unlikely, and the fetus will not be affected by birth defects. When the antibody is found in the blood test, your healthcare provider may perform a series of tests for the next eight to ten weeks to examine your fetus’s well-being and health conditions.3,4

Human parvovirus B19, first linked with human disease in 1981 classified under the family Parvoviridae, and the genus Erythrovirus. This is also called the Fifth disease that usually affects the children between ages 4 to 14.

The virus is contagious and spreads through contact with respiratory secretions of the nose, coughing, sneezing, and contact through the blood. The onset of symptoms unlikely to be contagious after the individual starts developing a rash. Medical theories state that pregnant mothers when infected with this condition can still deliver healthy babies.


  1. “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Parvovirus B19 (B19V) Infection?” Latest Medical News, Clinical Trials, Guidelines – Today on Medscape, 23 Mar. 2020, www.medscape.com/answers/961063-77651/what-are-the-signs-and-symptoms-of-parvovirus-b19-b19v-infection.
  2. “Parvovirus B19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Nov. 2019, www.cdc.gov/parvovirusb19/about-parvovirus.html.
  3. David J Cennimo, MD. Parvovirus B19 Infection Workup: Laboratory Studies, Imaging Studies, Medscape, 23 Mar. 2020, emedicine.medscape.com/article/961063-workup
  4. JA;, Jordan. “Diagnosing Human Parvovirus B19 Infection: Guidelines for Test Selection.” Molecular Diagnosis : a Journal Devoted to the Understanding of Human Disease through the Clinical Application of Molecular Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11774195/

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 9, 2021

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