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J Rheumatol. 2002 Mar;29(3):595-602.

Chronic fatigue syndrome and arthralgia following parvovirus B19 infection.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Royal Brompton Hospital, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK.



To determine the incidence of arthralgia and fatigue complicating B19 infection, along with associated B19 markers and autoantibodies.


We studied patients with acute B19 infection (n = 51), patients followed from the time of acute B19 infection (mean 22.5 mo) (n = 39), and healthy controls (n = 50). Clinical details were collected using a questionnaire and blood was tested for B19 markers and autoantibodies.


Acute B19 arthralgia occurred in 31 patients and was associated with female sex (p = 0.007) and age > 20 years (p = 0.02). Acute B19 fatigue occurred in 8 patients and was not significantly associated with any marker. At followup, symptoms consisted of arthralgia (n = 5), arthralgia and fatigue (n = 6), fatigue (n = 7), lymphadenopathy (n = 1), and purpura due to thrombocytopenia (n = 2). Chronic B19 arthralgia was associated with persistent B19 viremia (p = 0.029). Comparison of the B19 followup group with the controls revealed a significantly increased prevalence of arthralgia (p = 0.0002), fatigue (p < 0.0001), and all other markers. Chronic B19 arthralgia was associated with both acute B19 arthralgia (p = 0.0168) and positive ANA at acute infection (p = 0.0043). Chronic B19 fatigue was associated with acute B19 fatigue (p = 0.011). Five patients fulfilled the Centers for Disease Control criteria for a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and one of these was negative for serum anti-B19 IgG at followup by both Western blot and immunofluorescence. However, there was no characteristic pattern of B19 markers/autoantibodies in patients with B19 associated chronic fatigue.


CFS may follow acute parvovirus B19 infection; however, attribution of a case of CFS to B19 infection may be extremely difficult in the absence of serological confirmation of acute infection at fatigue onset.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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