Does human parvovirus B19 Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Human parvovirus B19 is a common childhood virus. It causes Fifth disease, a minor childhood disease which is similar to the measles. There are usually cold symptoms and a low grade fever. There is often a rash on the face which is bright red. It is called “slapped cheek.” But, it’s often so not simple in adult women.
Double Déjà Vu
The doctor took one look at me and he knew what was wrong. I guess it was too traumatic to tell me to my face since he decided to tell my husband first. He said he was sure he was right.
Double déjà vu: I wish I could report that he was the worst doctor I have ever met. Unfortunately, though, I have been through the exact same process a few times with regard to Rheumatoid Arthritis. It has been a double déjà vu. First, with the arthritis symptoms; and then, with the “hysterical woman” diagnosis.
Postscript: It was a classic case of parvovirus.
I did take my kids to the pediatrician that week when they developed the classic B19 symptom of “slapped cheek” rash. My kids were easily diagnosed with the highly contagious “fifth disease” which is caused by human parvovirus. The docs got all excited about how closely our case replicated the photographs in their books.
More information on human parvovirus B19:
- Center for Disease Control factpage
- Images of fifth disease in a French gynecological journal
- A children’s health blog on fifth disease in kids
- One study which examines whether parvovirus B19 causes Rheumatoid Arthritis from Annals of Rheumatic Diseases
More Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior:
- What Causes the Fatigue of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
- Rheumatoid Arhtritis and Depression
- A Memo to Non RA-ers / If you do NOT have RA, please read this