Parvovirus B19 infection in pregnancy and subsequent morbidity and mortality in offspring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Because parvovirus B19 infection in pregnancy has been associated with infant morbidity and mortality in case reports and after intrauterine transfusion, we tested the population-based association using serum and hospital data of high quality.

METHODS: We established a cohort of 113 228 children born to women tested for parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy in a major diagnostic laboratory in Denmark, from 1994 to 2009. Information on 20 selected morbidity diagnoses and on mortality was obtained from the Danish National Patient Register, the Danish Cancer Register and the Danish Civil Registration System. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) were estimated by log-linear Poisson regression with adjustment for age and sex of the child, maternal age and year of maternal parvovirus B19 test.

RESULTS: A total of 1095 (1.0%) children were born to mothers who were infected with parvovirus B19 during pregnancy. During 1 million person-years of follow-up, 10 856 children experienced morbidity and 590 children died. Overall, maternal infection status was neither associated with morbidity during infancy (IRR 0.64; 95% CI: 0.40 to 1.02) or childhood (IRR 0.93; 95% CI: 0.77 to 1.14), nor with infant mortality (IRR 0.98; 95% CI: 0.44 to 2.20). Specifically, there was no association with 19 of 20 morbidities. An excess risk of cancer in the central nervous system was observed (IRR 5.88; 95% CI: 1.41 to 24.6); however, the number of exposed cases was very small (n = 2).

CONCLUSIONS: Parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy was not associated with overall morbidity or mortality in infancy and childhood.


External organisations
  • Danish Serum Institute, Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords


  • Adolescent, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Denmark/epidemiology, Epidemiologic Methods, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Maternal Age, Middle Aged, Parvoviridae Infections/mortality, Parvovirus B19, Human, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/mortality, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects/mortality, Young Adult
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-6
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes