What is Parvovirus?
The Parvovirus in humans is entirely different from the one that affects dogs and cats. Parvovirus B19 is the type of virus that affects humans. Parvovirus B19 is said to be a common infectious disease that spreads from person to person and results in no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
This virus tends to target the cells that mature into red blood cells. This infection temporarily stops the production of these cells. And the effect of the stoppage is only evident in individuals who do not produce normal red blood cells. The Parvovirus also causes ‘Slapped cheek’ disease which is prevalent in school-aged children.
Who is More Likely to Get Affected?
Parvovirus can affect people of all ages. You are likely to have symptoms if you are immunocompromised or have problems in producing normal red blood cells. Healthy school-aged children are healthy are also more likely to get infected but they experience no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
How does Parvovirus Infection Spread?
Human Parvovirus is present in the spit, nasal mucus, or saliva. This virus spreads through airborne droplets when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. This virus may also spread through blood or any contaminated blood products.
Parvovirus Pregnancy Effects
If a pregnant woman gets infected with parvovirus then she may pass it on to the fetus through the placenta. Also, an infected pregnant woman will be at high risk for a miscarriage. Otherwise, most infected pregnant women produce healthy & normal babies.
Rarely, the fetus may be at risk for fetal anemia or hydropsfetalis. It is a condition where there will be an abnormal build-up of fluid in some of the areas of the body. The first half period of pregnancy is critical and women who get infected during this period are at risk for hydropsfetalis.
Can Humans Get Parvo from Cats or Dogs?
No, the parvovirus that affects dogs & cats is different from the one that affects humans. This virus does not spread from pets to humans.
Causes & Symptoms of Parvovirus infection?
Parvovirus B19 virus causes parvovirus infection that spreads from person to person. Parvovirus in humans – long-term effects include chronic anemia & serious complications due to the fifth disease. Symptoms of parvovirus in children will be different from adults. Symptoms include:
- Swollen joints (common in adults)
- Low-grade fever
- Painful joints (common in adults)
- Stomach upset
- Gloves and socks syndrome
- Slapped Cheek disease
The Parvovirus can also stop a child’s body from making new blood cells. It is indeed a serious symptom because it can lead to severe anemia.
How Long does Parvovirus Infection Last?
The incubation period of the Parvovirus (the time between exposure and symptoms) is between 3 days and 3 weeks. If you have symptoms of parvovirus infection, it may only last for a short time for about five to seven days.
Diagnosis & Tests for Parvovirus Infection
Your doctor will perform a physical examination and enquire about the symptoms that you are experiencing. In most cases, there will be no testing done as the infection is mostly asymptomatic or very mild. If your doctor suspects that you have Parvovirus and if you are at high risk for complications then your bone marrow or blood may be tested (this is rare).
If you are pregnant, blood from the fetal cord or amniotic fluid may be tested. Also, you will be recommended to take ultrasounds to keep an eye on your fetus. If you are suspected that you had it in the past then they may check your blood for antibodies.
Parvovirus Treatment in Humans
Parvovirus is said to be self-limiting (i.e) it will disappear on its own. No treatment is necessary for children or adults who are in good health condition. Drinking plenty of fluids and taking good rest is usually suggested. The symptoms may fade away in five to seven days.
How to Prevent Parvovirus Infection?
There is no vaccine available currently for this virus and research is going on possible vaccines. Here are some of the tips to prevent the infection:
- Frequent hand washing with water & soap
- Cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze
- Avoid close contact with someone infected
- Stay home if you are infected
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
1. What are the symptoms of parvo in humans?
Symptoms of Parvo include fatigue, headache, low-grade fever, joint pain, slapped cheek disease, etc.
2. Is parvo curable in humans?
Yes, Parvo is curable in humans.
3. How do they test for parvo in humans?
Antibodies testing is done on the blood drawn from the vein and rarely bone marrow will be tested. In case of pregnancy, amniotic fluid or fetal cord blood will be tested.
4. How do you catch parvovirus?
Parvovirus spreads through spit, saliva, or nasal mucus. It mostly spreads through airborne droplets from someone who coughs or sneezes.