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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1992 Jun;13(6):343-8.

Nosocomial human parvovirus B19 infection: lack of transmission from a chronically infected patient to hospital staff.

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Hospital Epidemiology Service, Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.

Erratum in

  • Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1992 Sep;13(9):511.



To assess the potential for nosocomial spread of parvovirus B19 from a chronically infected patient.


Employees exposed to the index case and control (unexposed) employees were evaluated by baseline and follow up parvovirus B19 serologies and hematologic assessments, and completed baseline and follow up epidemiologic questionnaires.


A chronically infected patient was hospitalized on a hematology ward in a research referral hospital for 3.5 weeks prior to a diagnosis of parvovirus B19 infection and the institution of isolation precautions.


Sera were screened for parvovirus B19 DNA (dot blot analysis), and IgG and IgM anti-B19 antibodies (capture immunoassay). Hematologic assessment included CBC, differential, and reticulocyte count.


The index case had parvovirus B19 DNA at approximately 10(6) genome copies per ml of serum, elevated IgM and low levels of IgG B19 antibodies. Of the 21 exposed staff, 11 (52%) had IgG B19 antibodies and were immune; of the 8 unexposed staff, 6 (75%) had IgG B19 antibodies. No employees developed IgM B19 antibodies, B19 DNA, hematologic abnormalities, or clinical symptoms.


In contrast to reports of documented nosocomial transmission of B19 parvovirus from patients in transient aplastic crisis, nosocomial transmission did not occur--even in the absence of isolation precautions--presumably from the lower level of B19 viremia in our chronically infected (rather than acutely infected) patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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