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What Are Parvovirus Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 July 2014
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Initially, parvovirus symptoms typically include sore throat, fever, and an upset stomach. After a few days, these parvovirus symptoms normally ease up and are usually replaced with a bright red rash appearing on the cheeks. The rash might spread down to the torso, arms, and legs and may be slightly raised. When adults get parvovirus, also commonly referred to as fifth's disease, the rash may not appear at all. Instead of the rash, adults often experience soreness in their joints, which could last for up to two weeks.

Children tend to get parvovirus much more often than adults, which is why it is usually considered a childhood disease. Parvovirus is a type of viral infection that is rarely serious unless a person is pregnant or has medical problems, including anemia and immune system disorders. In most cases, parents do not realize their children have the infection until the red rash becomes noticeable across the face. By the time the rash develops, the infection is typically no longer affecting the child, and she will probably not be feeling sick any longer. Additionally, adults who experience parvovirus symptoms may not be aware they have the illness unless they decide to visit a doctor.

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It is very dangerous for a woman who is pregnant to get parvovirus during the first half of her pregnancy. The illness could affect the red blood cells of the fetus, which tends to make miscarriage and stillbirth much more likely to occur. Parvovirus is very contagious, but if a woman has already had it once in her life, she is not likely to get it again from an infected person. There are certain medicines that a doctor can administer to pregnant women who have parvovirus that may benefit the fetus, but in some cases it is necessary to do a blood transfusion.

People who are anemic or who have an immune system disorder, such as HIV, are also at risk of becoming very sick from parvovirus. The illness can cause severe anemia in people with compromised immune systems, and people who are mildly anemic may become severely anemic if they catch it. Parvovirus is typically no longer contagious once a person gets through the initial parvovirus symptoms and the rash appears. This is part of the reason why the illness tends to spread so rapidly, because many people don't realize they have it until the rash appears and often mistake the initial symptoms for something else.

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Discuss this Article

anon272783
Post 7

I'm not sure if I have this virus, but I've had a sore throat for like eight days now and I'm starting to get a little worried. I haven't got the other symptoms but I'm not sure what it could be.

SZapper
Post 6

@strawCake - Yeah, having a rash all over your face doesn't sound like it's much fun. At least this illness usually isn't serious though, unless you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system or anemia.

I think this is probably the worst for pregnant women, since it can cause them to have a miscarriage. And seriously, like there aren't enough things to worry about when you're pregnant.

A friend of mine just had a baby and when she was pregnant there was a lot of stuff she was supposed to watch out for. I don't know how any pregnant ladies stop worrying long enough to even have their babies!

strawCake
Post 5

I've actually never heard of this, which is kind of surprising. I used to get sick all the time when I was a little kid, so I'm surprised I never had this!

I think it's interesting that children usually get a rash with this, while adults get joint pain. I can't decide which one is worse! But then, at least joint pain isn't visible. And by that time the other symptoms are gone. It kind of stinks that this illness lasts for kind of a long period of time though.

orangey03
Post 4

I developed parvovirus while recovering from a kidney transplant. Since my immune system wasn't strong at the time, the virus was a bit harder on me than on most folks.

Instead of joint inflammation that goes away in a short time, I got long-term arthritis because of it. My doctor gave me pain pills and steroids, but she could only do this for a short time.

I take anti-inflammatory pills to deal with my episodes now. I don't have pain constantly, but when I do, it makes me miserable.

kylee07drg
Post 3

When I got parvovirus, I thought at first that it was strep throat. I have had that several times in the past, and a fever always goes along with it.

However, I did think it strange that my stomach was upset. This generally doesn't happen with strep throat.

Because of the fever, I decided to go to my doctor. She told me that I had parvovirus. I know I look puzzled, because I've only heard of parvo in dogs.

She told me that I would be fine, but she did mention that I would likely develop joint pain in a few days. I did, and I suddenly felt old and arthritic. I didn't get out of bed for about a week, and when I did go back to work, I had to take anti-inflammatory medicine every few hours.

Oceana
Post 2

@Perdido – You don't have to worry. There are two different kinds of parvovirus. One affects humans, and one affects animals. It is not possible for humans to get the animal parvovirus.

One similarity between the two is that both affect the young. Puppies can get parvovirus, but I've never heard of an adult dog getting it. It is very important to have puppies vaccinated, because like your vet said, this virus can kill them in a matter of days.

Human parvovirus is a whole lot less serious, unless you happen to be pregnant. I have had it, and so has my daughter, but we both came through fine.

Perdido
Post 1

Is this the same parvovirus that dogs get? I hope not! I didn't know that humans could get parvovirus.

I recently had to take a whole litter of puppies to the vet because they had parvo. They had stopped eating, and she said it was good I brought them in when I did, because they could have died from it if they hadn't received treatment.

I really hope that it's not possible for me to catch this from the puppies. I just found out that I am pregnant!

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