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Successful use of interferon alfa-2a for persistent parvovirus B19 infection

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Human infection with parvovirus B19 causes a range of clinical manifestations, including benign erythema infectiosum in children, arthralgias in adults, aplastic crisis in patients with bone marrow failure, and potentially fatal congenital hydrops fetalis. Persistent parvovirus B19 infection is a rare disease presentation mostly seen in adult women or immunocompromised individuals. Treatment options include corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulin; however, viral clearance is difficult to obtain and rarely maintained. In this Grand Round, we report the case of a 43-year-old man with persistent parvovirus B19 infection and anaemia, who was refractory to standard treatment regimens, and whom we successfully treated with pegylated interferon alfa-2a. Initial treatment led to viral clearance and remission of anaemia, although secondary recurrence of virus required treatment extension. Despite extensive genetic and immunological evaluations, no underlying primary or secondary immunodeficiency was identified in the patient. We propose interferon alfa-2a as a treatment option for persistent parvovirus B19 infection and advocate long-term follow-up of patients and potentially repeated treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLancet Infectious Diseases
Number of pages6
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2022

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