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Parvovirus B19 infections are common throughout the world but the seroprevalence is a little bit higher in developing countries (caused by poor and crowded living standards) (1).

The seroprevalence increases with age and studies have shown that 15% of preschool children, 50% of younger adults and about 85% of the elderly have serological evidence of past infection (1).

Parvovirus B19 infection is not a notifiable disease in UK. The precise number of infected cases is difficult to calculate since surveillance of the disease relies on laboratory-confirmed cases (2).

Outbreaks of the infection occur every 3-4 years with a seasonal peak in the first half of each year. Recent epidemic years have been 1989-1990, 1993-1994 and 1997- 1998

  • 50% of susceptible individuals who are exposed at home to a family member with parvovirus B19 may acquire the infection
  • 10-60% of students may get the infection during school outbreaks
    • 20% of infected adults and children will not develop any symptoms
    • some may present with non specific illnesses which is not related to the disease (3)


Last reviewed 01/2018