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Editor's Correspondence
March 23, 1998

Prevalence of Parvovirus B19 Infection Among Patients With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Barcelona, Spain

Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(6):680-681. doi:

Anemia is one of the most common hematologic abnormalities in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, affecting as many as 80% of patients. Opportunistic infections, myelosuppressive drugs (antiretroviral medications, ganciclovir, or cytotoxic chemotherapy), neoplasms, or immunologic changes induced by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may contribute to the cause of anemia. Parvovirus B19 (PV B19) is known to cause a pure red cell aplasia through a lysis of erythroid progenitor cells.1 Thus, PV B19 infection is another potential mechanism of anemia in HIV-infected patients. However, there are some controversial points related to PV B19 infection in this population: First, its prevalence in HIV-infected patients is variable and ranges from 10% to 60%2-4; second, the prevalence of PV B19 infection that causes anemia in HIV-infected individuals2-6; and third, the ideal diagnostic method for treating PV B19 infection in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It has been suggested that serological testing may not be a sensitive diagnostic method because of the poor immunologic response in immunocompromised patients.2,4,7 Thus, the detection of PV B19 nucleic acids using DNA hybridization or polymerase chain reaction has been proposed as the standard diagnostic method.2,4,6,7