Parvovirus B19 (B19V) is a widespread infection that may affect 1-5% of pregnant women, mainly with normal pregnancy outcome. Vertical transmission occurs in 33-51% of cases of maternal infection. B19V infection is an important cause of fetal morbidity (fetal anaemia and non-immune hydrops) and mortality, predominantly in the second trimester. Diagnosis of B19V infection requires a multi-method approach using mainly serology and PCR techniques. Severe fetal anaemia is managed with intrauterine transfusion with perinatal survival rates following intrauterine transfusion ranging from 67% to 85%. If fetal anaemia is mild, and considering that hydrops can spontaneously resolve, invasive therapy is not recommended and B19V complicated pregnancy may be non-invasively monitored by serial ultrasound examination and MCV-PSV measurements. As an alternative, intrauterine IVIG therapy has been described with successful treatment of fetal hydrops. No specific antiviral therapy or vaccine is presently available for B19V infection but efforts in the search for compounds inhibiting B19V replication are now being pursued. New virus-like-particle based parvovirus B19 vaccine candidates, produced by co-expressing VP2 and either wild-type VP1 or phospholipase-negative VP1 in a regulated ratio from a single plasmid inSaccharomyces cerevisiae have been developed and show sufficient promise to test in humans.
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