Q: Is Fifth Disease exposure a problem in pregnancy?
A: Parvovirus infection in pregnancy has been associated with fetal hydrops and stillbirth. A study published in 1998 looked at the risk of parvovirus infection in pregnant women.
Results: Of 618 pregnant women exposed to parvovirus, 307 (49.7%) were immune to B19, and 52 (16.7% of all susceptibles) contracted B19 infection. None of the 52 fetuses of infected women developed nonimmune hydrops, and there were no fetal deaths attributable to B19 in this group. Maternal symptoms of polyarthralgia (46%), fever (19%), and nonspecific rash (38%) were significantly more common in IgM-positive patients than in noninfected women (4.1%, 2.8%, and 5.7%, respectively). Only 17 (33%) of the IgM-positive women were entirely asymptomatic.
Conclusion: The fetal risk of nonimmune hydrops after maternal B19 infection must be very low. As a consequence, exclusion of pregnant women from the workplace during endemic periods with seasonal clusters of cases is not justified. Weekly fetal ultrasound evaluation in these cases carries a low yield.
Study: Prospective Evaluation of 618 Pregnant Women Exposed to Parvovirus B19: Risks and Symptoms James H. Harger, Stuart P. Adler, William C. Koch and Gail F. Harger Obstetrics and Gynecology 1998 Volume 91, Issue 3
March 1998 Pages 413-420