Antibody to parvovirus B19 nonstructural protein is associated with chronic arthralgia in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis – Source: General Virology, Apr 2010

[Note: B19 is the cause of the common, rashy “fifth disease” of childhood, aka “slapped cheek disease.” It is being linked to increasing numbers of other illnesses, including an infectious form of arthritis.]

Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a neuro-immune disease of uncertain pathogenesis. Human parvovirus B19 infection has been shown to occur just prior to development of the onset of CFS/ME in several cases, although B19 seroprevalence studies do not show any significant differences between CFS/ME and controls.

In this study, we analyzed parvovirus B19 markers in CFS/ME patients (n=200), diagnosed according to Fukuda CDC criteria, and normal blood donors (n=200).

Serum from each subject was tested for anti-B19 VP2 IgM and IgG (by Biotrin ELISA), anti-B19 NS1 IgM and IgG (by immunofluorescence), and B19 DNA (by real-time PCR). CFS/ME patients and normal blood donors had a similar B19 seroprevalence (75 % versus 78%, respectively).

Eighty-three CFS patients (41.5 %) as compared with fourteen (7%) normal blood donors tested positive for anti-B19 NS1 IgG (chi(2)=64.8; P<0.0001; odds ratio=9.42, CI 5.11-17.38).

Of these 83 patients, 61 complained of chronic joint pain, while 22 did not.

Parvovirus B19 DNA was detected in serum of 11 CFS patients and none of the controls by Taqman real-time PCR (chi(2)=9.35, P<0.002). Positivity for anti-B19 NS1 IgG was associated with higher expression levels of the human CFS-associated genes NHLH1 and GABPA.

As NS1 antibodies are thought to indicate chronic or severe courses of B19 infection, these findings suggest that although the seroprevalence of B19 in CFS patients is similar to controls, the immune control of the virus in these patients may not be efficient.

Source: Journal of General Virology, Apr 2010; 91(pt4):893-7. Kerr JR, Gough J, Richards SC, Main J, Enlander D, McCreary M, Komaroff AL, Chia JK. Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, St. George’s University of London, UK; Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. [Email:]

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2 thoughts on “Antibody to parvovirus B19 nonstructural protein is associated with chronic arthralgia in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis – Source: General Virology, Apr 2010”

  1. puggles says:

    Curious. I have had CFIDS/ME/FM for the last 15 years and am mostly bedridden. About a year ago I was diagnosed with Parvo B19 at age 48. The Parvo did go into the hands/fingers/toes and then into the large joints and stayed in the large joints for a good year or so. I don’t know if it is a chance event OR if the Parvo B19 kicked off (directly/indirectly or otherwise) a psoriatic arthritis. On my upper rear-end there developed the heavy scaling of psorisis which happened to correspond with severe arthritis-like symptoms in my large joints. For several months it was so severe that I could not raise myself up from the ground without assistance from my spouse or crawling to something that i could use to grab myself upwards. When the psorisis on the upper rear-end disappeared, so did the severe arthritis-like symptoms.

    I find this article by Dr. Kerr curious for many reasons. A 48 year old woman getting Parvo B19 (again or for the first time at a late age). A Parvo B19 infection 15 years AFTER CFIDS onset. A Psorisis arthritis like symptoms following the Parvo B19 – with no previous history of Psorisis. All curious…As usual with CFIDS.

    1. colinjn says:

      I get the same symptoms as you every year. I never knew the reason for them, just have to live through the pain. Interesting to hear about the rash in the same place and the joints. I was diagnosed with Reactive Arthritis after chronic salmonella infection was discovered. I got rid of the salmonella but the yearly bouts continue. Another tidbit to add to my knowledge.

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