The relationship between transient erythroblastopenia of childhood (TEC) and parvovirus B19 infection remains uncertain. Large series using primarily serologic evaluation have not shown an association, whereas smaller series have reported parvovirus B19 infection in such patients. Further, parvovirus DNA or antigen has been detected in some patients seronegative for the virus at presentation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification has never been used to evaluate patients with TEC for parvovirus B19. We used the PCR in an attempt to detect parvovirus B19 in DNA extracted from archived bone marrow coverslips of 16 patients diagnosed with TEC. The patients ranged in age from 3 to 23 months and presented with a mean hemoglobin value of 5.4 g/dL. Sixty- nine percent were neutropenic and none was thrombocytopenic. None of the patients had histologic evidence of parvovirus B19 infection in the bone marrow. DNA amplification for parvovirus B19 was negative in each case. In contrast, parvovirus B19 DNA was amplified from DNA isolated from archived bone marrow coverslips of a patient with known parvovirus B19 infection, indicating that the PCR assay was sufficiently sensitive to detect virus from archived bone marrow coverslips. Review of the literature indicates that the patients with parvovirus-associated TEC are generally older and often present with concomitant thrombocytopenia, whereas patients with parvovirus B19- negative TEC are younger and present without thrombocytopenia, similar to the patients in our study. Our results suggest that parvovirus B19 is not the cause of anemia in the young patient with typical features of TEC. Rather, parvovirus B19 infection of older, previously healthy children may occasionally cause a protracted anemia, often with thrombocytopenia, which may be diagnosed by some as TEC.
- parvovirus B19
- transient erythroblastopenia of childhood
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine