Clinical relevance of parvovirus B19 as a cause of anemia in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection

Janis L. Abkowitz*, Kevin E. Brown, Robert W. Wood, Nicholas L. Kovach, Spencer W. Green, Neal S. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Parvovirus B19 (B19) DNA was detected by dot blot hybridization in sera from 5 (17%) of 30 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with hematocrits (HCT) of ≤24 and 4 (31%) of 13 HIV-infected patients with HCT of ≤20, suggesting that B19 is a reasonably common cause of severe anemia in HIV infection. The anemia promptly remitted after immunoglobulin therapy in 3 of 4 treated patients. The presence of IgM to B19, the clinical circumstance in which anemia developed, and the marrow morphology were poor predictors of chronic B19 infection. DNA hybridization studies of sera from 191 HIV- infected and 117 HIV-seronegative homosexual males attending a clinic in the Seattle area revealed that 1 (0.5%) and 2 (2%) samples, respectively, from the 2 groups contained B19. However, when assayed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), 5% of the serum samples from HIV-infected persons and 9% from uninfected persons contained B19, although each had an HCT of ≤40. The data argue that anemia results from chronic high-titer B19 infection. Although a negative PCR assay excludes this diagnosis, DNA hybridization may be the more specific serum test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-273
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received 13 December 1996; revised 21 February 1997. Guidelines of the US Department of Health and Human Services were followed, and the studies were approved by the Human Subjects Committee at the University of Washington. Financial support: NIH (HL-31823); American Cancer Society (Faculty Research Award to J.L.A.). Reprints or correspondence: Dr. Janis L. Abkowitz, Division of Hematology, Dept. of Medicine, University of Washington, Box 357710, Seattle, WA 98195-7710.


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