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Transfusion. 2005 Nov;45(11):1811-5.

Exposure of hematologic patients to parvovirus B19 as a contaminant of blood cell preparations and blood products.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene and the Department of Haematology and Oncology, University of Regensburg, Germany.



Patients with hematologic malignancies often require blood products, and parvovirus B19 is known to be transmitted by this route. Primary infection with parvovirus B19 shows a wide variety of disease manifestation. In immunocompromised patients, symptoms are severe and viral clearance is delayed or missing.


A total of 2123 blood products given to all patients of a hematologic ward over a period of 6 months were retrospectively examined for the presence of parvovirus B19 DNA by an in-house real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR; TaqMan). Patients who had received B19 DNA-positive blood products were further investigated serologically and by PCR for the presence of parvovirus B19 antibodies and DNA.


Twenty-one (1%) of 2123 blood products tested positive for the presence of B19 DNA (2% of pooled products, 0.7% of single-donor products, and 17.6% of allogeneic peripheral blood progenitor cells), the median viral load was 700 genome equivalents per mL. During the study period, 114 patients were treated on the ward, and 14 (12%) of them received B19 DNA-positive blood components. None of them developed symptoms of an acute B19 infection, although one had a short low-level viremia.


Although B19 DNA was detected in 1 percent of blood products given to hematologic patients, the exposure of 12 percent of patients did not result in symptomatic infections.

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