Parvovirus B19 infections in state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 526 sera analyzed by IgM-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and polymerase chain reaction.
Parvovirus B19 has been associated by some investigators with cases of severe hepatitis. The aim of the present study was to determine the presence of active parvovirus B19 infection among 129 Brazilian patients with non-A-E hepatitis. The patients were assayed for antibodies against parvovirus B19, IgM class, by ELISA. In IgM-positive cases, parvovirus B19 DNA was assayed by PCR in serum and liver tissue and parvovirus VP1 antigen in liver tissue was assayed by immunohistochemistry. Antibodies against parvovirus B19, IgM class, were detected in 3 (2.3%) of 129 patients with non-A-E hepatitis. Previous surgery and blood transfusions were reported by these 3 patients. One patient was a 56-year-old female with severe hepatitis, with antimitochondrial antibody seropositivity and submassive necrosis at liver biopsy, who responded to corticosteroid therapy. Strong evidence for active parvovirus B19 infection was found in this patient, with parvovirus B19 DNA being detected by PCR in liver tissue. Furthermore, parvovirus VP1 antigen was also detected in liver tissue by immunohistochemistry. The other two IgM-positive patients were chronic hepatitis cases, but active infection was not proven, since neither viral DNA nor antigen were detected in their liver tissues. This and other reports suggest a possible relation between parvovirus B19 infection and some cases of hepatitis.