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Parvovirus B19 infection in five European countries: seroepidemiology, force of infection and maternal risk of infection

  • J. MOSSONG (a1), N. HENS (a2), V. FRIEDERICHS (a3), I. DAVIDKIN (a4), M. BROMAN (a4), B. LITWINSKA (a5), J. SIENNICKA (a5), A. TRZCINSKA (a5), P. VAN DAMME (a6), P. BEUTELS (a6), A. VYSE (a7), Z. SHKEDY (a2), M. AERTS (a2), M. MASSARI (a8) and G. GABUTTI (a9)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 24 October 2007

We conducted a seroprevalence survey in Belgium, Finland, England & Wales, Italy and Poland on 13 449 serum samples broadly representative in terms of geography and age. Samples were tested for the presence of immunoglobulin G antibody using an enzyme immunoassay. The age-specific risk of infection was estimated using parametric and non-parametric statistical modelling. The age-specific risk in all five countries was highest in children aged 7–9 years and lower in adults. The average proportion of women of child-bearing age susceptible to parvovirus B19 infection and the risk of a pregnant women acquiring B19 infection during pregnancy was estimated to be 26% and 0·61% in Belgium, 38% and 0·69% in England & Wales, 43·5% and 1·24% in Finland, 39·9% and 0·92% in Italy and 36·8% and 1·58% in Poland, respectively. Our study indicates substantial epidemiological differences in Europe regarding parvovirus B19 infection.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: J. Mossong, Ph.D., Microbiology, Laboratoire National de Santé, PO Box 1102, L-1011 Luxembourg, Luxembourg. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
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