What Are The Ways To Prevent Parvovirus B19 & Does It Reoccur?

There are no specific medicines to prevent the condition however you can reduce the chances of being infected.1

Vaccines are under investigation to prevent parvovirus B19, but the good thing is when you are infected you get lifelong immunity.2

Parvovirus B19 affects only humans and the infection can last depending on the patient’s immunity and most likely it will not occur again.3,4

What Are The Ways To Prevent Parvovirus B19?

Nearly half of the people worldwide get infected with this virus. The children in middle school and the elementary are usually affected by this condition during late winter or early spring. Most cases of human parvovirus show mild infections and get resolved on their own.

The symptoms of parvovirus B19 is often confused with several childhood rashes. Although most cases are asymptomatic, some children develop severe anemia leading to aplastic crisis, joint pain/arthritis, and a few others.

In children whose immune system is not working properly, parvovirus B19 can cause severe complications. The infection is contagious and spread through respiratory droplets such as sneezing, mucus, and saliva. It can also spread through blood products so pregnant mothers have a potential risk of passing the infection to the unborn fetus.1

When children develop a bright red check (rashes) they are no longer contagious, and infections will not spread. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent the infections however you can lessen the chances of being infected by followed health hygiene and changes to your lifestyle. This includes

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water
  • Wear a mask when you go to public places
  • Cover with your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Avoid contact with facial tissues such as eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Keep away from patients who are infected with this condition. Similarly, self-isolation is recommended when you are affected

Pregnant mothers who have been exposed to this virus should immediately discuss their condition with their obstetricians. When women are affected during pregnancy, most babies acquire the virus and are born with complications. In severe cases, it may result in fetal death as well.2

When there is an outbreak in school or workplace, parents and employees should be advocated on the risk before they show serious complications. They may require deciding to avoid such a contagious environment after discussing it with a general practitioner, occupation doctor, or healthcare provider.

Does Parvovirus B19 Reoccur?

A medical study was conducted on a patient who developed secondary parvovirus infection during a community outbreak. The patients showed an expected rise in the antibody. However, after serious investigation, it was identified that the secondary infection was not reported in a healthy person. However, infection recurred in the healthy individual who found positive for parvovirus B19 infection.

They produce different signs and symptoms during the recurrence. The rash can recur and have a fluctuating nature, triggered by excess heat, direct exposure to sunlight, stress, or certain types of exercises). Although the symptoms are not physically seen yet these patients exhibit severe itching in the hands and feet.3,4

Parvovirus B19 is one of the most common viruses producing infections in humans. They are also referred to as slapped cheek or fifth disease. Parvovirus is generally associated with infections in dogs and cats as it is been causing significant infections in humans.

However, animal strains of parvovirus do not instigate infections in humans and similarly, parvovirus B19 does not spread infections to animals. But human parvovirus has the potential to cause severe complications in adults and children with sickle cell disease.

References:

  1. “Parvovirus Infection.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 15 Apr. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parvovirus-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20376085.
  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. Phan, Peter, and Carlos Estrada. “Parvovirus.” Cancer Therapy Advisor, 11 Feb. 2019, www.cancertherapyadvisor.com/home/decision-support-in-medicine/hospital-medicine/parvovirus-2/.
  4. “Fifth Disease (Parvovirus B19).” HealthyChildren.org, www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Fifth-Disease-Parvovirus-B19.aspx.

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