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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Plasmodium falciparum malaria and Parvovirus B19; a case of acute co-infection

F Ingrassia*, A Gadaleta, P Maggi and G Pastore

Author Affiliations

Institute of Infectious Diseases, University of Bari, Italy, Ospedale Policlinico Piazza Giulio Cesare, 30, 70124 - Bari, Italy

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:87  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-87

Published: 1 April 2010



Co-infection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria and Parvovirus B19 in adults is an extremely rare occurrence and, apparently, only one case has been previously reported. Herein we describe a case of acute co-infection with severe anemia and renal failure.

Case presentation

The patient was a 34-year-old African man presenting myalgia, fatigue, headache, anemia and hepatosplenomegaly. A thin peripheral smear showed Plasmodium falciparum trophozoites and the patient was treated with oral mefloquine. After an initial amelioration, fever, fatigue and myalgia reappeared, the anemia worsened and there was evidence of acute renal failure. No malarial parasites were found with a blood smear. A bone marrow aspiration showed marked erythroid hypoplasia. Parvovirus B19-specific IgM and IgG and viremia were positive. The patient was treated with steroids and blood cell transfusions. After ten days, anemia and renal failure progressively decreased. When last seen, the patient was asymptomatic and the blood values were within the normal range.


The diagnosis of Parvovirus B19 acute infection should be considered in any case of persistent severe anemia and/or renal failure, even in clinical conditions that are well-known causes of anemia and renal failure, such as malaria.