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Lancet. 1981 Sep 19;2(8247):595-7.

Outbreak of aplastic crises in sickle cell anaemia associated with parvovirus-like agent.


Since 1952, 112 children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) in Jamaica have had an aplastic crisis. Outbreaks occurred in 1956, 1960, 1065-67, 1971-73, and 1979-80. Most cases occurred in children under 10 years of age, and an aplastic crisis in a patient over the age of 15 years is rare. There were 38 cases in 1979-80 and stored serum specimens from 28 of these were available for virus studies. Evidence for infection with a parvovirus-like agent was found in 24 of these 28 cases. Viral antigen was detected in 2 patients, both of whom demonstrated seroconversion. Seroconversion during 1980 was detected in a further 7, increasing amounts of antibody during the convalescent period were found in 5, antibody was found in 2 of 4 patients from whom only an acute phase specimen was available and the remaining 10 were antibody positive in the only convalescent phase sample available for testing. Antibody was found in 4 of 94 controls with the SS genotype (in retrospect 2 of these may have had an aplastic crisis) and in 17% of 48 controls with a normal haemoglobin (AA) genotype. The results accord with the possibility that the parvovirus-like agent is the principal cause of aplastic crisis in SCA.

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