Medical Q&As

Human parvovirus - risk to foetus?

My 2 year old was diagnosed with parvovirus. I was around 16 weeks pregnant at the time. Is my unborn baby at any risk from this? I am very worried about this.

Human parvovirus infection is known by a variety of names. It is also known as erythema infectiosum, “slapped cheek disease” and fifth disease. It is caused by human parvovirus B19. It is a relatively minor disease that causes little or no fever but does produce marked redness of the cheeks; hence the name slapped cheek disease. It is possible to be infected with the virus and yet not have any symptoms. Human parvovirus can affect the foetus but such reactions are very rare. It has been implicated in some cases of miscarriage but since your toddler had the infection when you were sixteen weeks pregnant that possibility can be safely excluded. The virus has also been implicated in some cases of anaemia in the foetus but it has never been shown to cause congenital abnormalities. In summary, if you were infected with the virus when you were sixteen weeks pregnant the chances of your unborn baby being harmed would be very remote. It is possible to test for exposure to parvovirus with a blood test. If that test were negative that would help to eliminate any worries you might have.