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January 2012, Volume 42 Number 1 , p 69 - 69


  • Elizabeth Heavey PhD, RN, CNM


One of my patients, who is at 16 weeks of gestation, was recently exposed to parvovirus. What are some of the main concerns?-L.P., PA.Elizabeth Heavey, PhD, RN, CNM, and Roselind Bruce-Vanderpuije, SN, reply: Several viruses can cause fetal harm, including parvovirus B19 (B19), also known as erythema infectiosum or fifth disease. Although rare, acute B19 infection in pregnancy may lead to hydrops fetalis (fetal hydrops) or fetal loss.1B19 is a highly contagious, common childhood illness.1 About half of those exposed become infected; most adults are exposed through contact with an infected child.2About 20% of those infected remain asymptomatic; others usually develop signs and symptoms 4 to 14 days after exposure. Children typically exhibit a "slapped-cheek" facial appearance with a lace-like erythematous rash on the trunk and extremities that resolves without treatment in 7 to 10 days. Infected adults are typically asymptomatic or experience only mild arthralgias lasting 1 to 2 weeks.2About

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