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I am pregnant and work as an elementary school teacher. One of my students recently had “fifth’s disease” which I read was due to a parvovirus infection. I was told by the nurse that it can cause birth defects. What can I do?

Oftentimes exposure to parvovirus B19 (the virus that causes fifth’s disease) does not pose any harm to pregnant women. The reason is because most women have already been exposed to parvovirus and are therefore immune. If a women is not immune, she is likely to experience a mild infection without any attributable risk to her unborn child.
However, in less than 3% of all pregnant women affective with parvovirus B19, there is a genetic predisoposition for a serious complications. These women may develop anemia which leads to miscarriage in a condition known as hydrops fetalis.
It is important to note that parvovirus in itself has never been shown to cause any birth defects.
If you have any concern, a visit to your primary care physician or obstetrician is warranted.