Parvovirus Infection

1 What is Parvovirus Infection?

Parvovirus infection  is a common infection and is seen mostly in children (fifth disease) although it can also affect adults. It is sometimes called slapped-cheek disease because of the distinctive rush that develops on the face. 

Parvovirus infection is usually mild and requires little treatment. However, this infection can be serious in adults especially in pregnant women since it can cause severe problems for the fetus. It can also be serious in people who have a weakened immune system.

2 Symptoms

The most distinctive symptom of Parvovirus infection in children is a slaped-cheek rash on the face and a lacy red rash on the bottom and limbs. This rash may or may not itch and usually resolves in less than two weeks. 

Other symptoms are fever, abdominal pain, headache, and a runny nose. Once the child recovers, he or she attains immunity against future infection. Adults usually experience flu-like symtoms and may have painful joints  when infected with the virus.The rarely get rash on the face but can have the lacy rash on the body.

3 Causes

The human parvovirus B19 causes parvovirus infection. This virus is most common among children aged from 5-7 years with outbreaks in winter and spring. 

It is an airborne disease ,thus is spreads from  one person to another through respiratory secretiond and hand-to-hand contact. It can also spread through blood and asses from the mother to the fetus throught the placenta. It is considered contagious until the rash appears.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of parvovirus infection is by testing blood to check if has antibodies against parvovirus are present or absent.

Enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) and immunofluoresence are widely used for the diagnosis of parvovirus infection.

5 Treatment

Most cases of parvovirus infection do not require treatments since self care at home is usually effective. However, treatment may be necessary in people who have anemia or a weakened immune system. 

People with anemia may receive blood transfusion while people with weakened immune systems may receive antibodies to treat infection. Acetaminophen can also be given if case of fever with temperature of more than 102 F (39 C) and pain.

6 Prevention

Currently there is no vaccine to prevent parvovirus infection. Maintaining good hygiene like frequent washing of hands can reduce the spread of parvovirus. 

Isolating people who have parvovirus infection may not be helpful since ill persons are usually contagious long before they develop the distinctive rash.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Simple lifestyle change is the best homeopathic remedy for parvovirus infection.

Getting enough rest and drinking a lot of fluids has been shown to be effective in treating parvovirus infection.

It is also not advisable for infected persons to be isolated since the rash only appears at the end of the contagious period.

8 Risks and Complications

There are several complications associated with parvovirus infection.

Parvovirus infection can cause inflammation of joints (arthritis) in adults.

In the case of pregnancy (usually in the first trimester) it can cause miscarriages or unborn babies  to have severe anemia. There is no evidence,however, to show that parvovirus infection causes birth defects or mental retardation.