Transfusion medicine
Transfusion transmitted disease
Parvovirus and transfusion

Author: Huy Phu Pham, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 31 October 2017, last major update October 2011

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Parvovirus and transfusion [title]

Cite this page: Pham, H.P. Parvovirus and transfusion. website. Accessed October 17th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Virus present in blood in 1:5,000 donors but most adults show evidence of prior exposure
  • Seropositivity rate is 30 - 60%
  • In Germany, incidence was 13 and 262 per 100,000 donors for viral loads above and below 100K IU/mL; blood with levels below 100K is considered safe due to high level of neutralizing antibodies; blood with viral loads > 100K IU/mL should not be transfused (Transfusion 2007;47:1775, Transfusion 2006;46:1593)
  • Virus is difficult to inactivate, although photochemical treatment with amotosalen combined with UVA light appears to be successful (Transfusion 2007;47:1062)
Clinical features
  • Mostly mild, self limited illness
  • Symptoms: rash, vomiting, aching joints and limbs, fatigue and malaise
  • Infection in sickle cell disease, thalassemia and HIV+ patients may result in aplastic crisis
  • Infection during pregnancy may result in severe fetal anemia or infant malformation
  • Parvovirus attacks erythroblasts, may cause acute anemic crisis in patients with accelerated erythropoiesis, immunocompromise or pregnancy, although usually recipients have no symptoms (Transfusion 2005;45:1811)
  • Immune response usually clears infection and provides lifelong protection but virus may persist in blood or tissue (Transfus Med 2007;17:263)