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.
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