Diagnosis, management and possibilities to prevent parvovirus B19 infection in pregnancy

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Human parvovirus B19 (B19V) infection in pregnancy can cause severe fetal anemia and nonimmune hydrops fetalis, which may be associated with spontaneous abortion and fetal death. Approximately 30–40% of women of child-bearing age are not immune to B19V infection. The risk to fetal life is particularly high if maternal infection occurs during the first 20 weeks of gestation. In this article we intend to give an overview on the molecular biology, epidemiology and management of B19V infection during pregnancy. These data will be combined with an assessment of the clinical situation of the infected fetus and the possibilities for avoiding and/or preventing B19V infection in pregnant women. Currently B19V infection is the causative agent of one of the most frequently occurring infectious complications in pregnancy that endangers fetal life, and so the necessity to develop a preventive vaccine is discussed.

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