Open Access Case Report

Human parvovirus B19 infection in a renal transplant recipient: a case report

Michelle Teodoro Alves12, Sandra Simone Vilaça3, Maria das Graças Carvalho2, Ana Paula Fernandes2, Luci Maria Sant’ Ana Dusse2 and Karina Braga Gomes12*

Author affiliations

1 Departamento de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

2 Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

3 Hospital Felício Rocho, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:28  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-28

Published: 23 January 2013



Parvovirus B19 presents tropism for human erythroid progenitor cells, causing chronic anemia in organ transplant recipients, due to their suppressed humoral and cellular responses. Diagnosis may be achieved through serological tests for detection of anti-B19 antibodies. However, renal transplant recipients are not routinely tested for parvovirus B19 infection, since there is scanty data or consensus on screening for B19 infection, as well as for treatment or preventive management of transplanted patients.

Case presentation

Herein we report a kidney transplant recipient, who was unresponsive to treatment of severe anemia, and presented hypocellular hematopoietic marrow, megaloblastosis and hypoplasia of erythroid lineage with larger cells with clear nuclei chromatin and eosinophilic nuclear inclusions. This patient was seropositive for Epstein-Barr and Cytomegalovirus infections and negative for anti-parvovirus B19 IgM and IgG antibodies, although symptoms were suggestive of parvoviruses infection. A qualitative polymerase chain reaction testing for B19 in serum sample revealed positive results for B19 virus DNA.


This case report suggests that the diagnostic process for parvovirus B19 in renal transplant recipients should include a polymerase chain reaction assay to detect B19-DNA, since specific serological tests may be unreliable given their impaired humoral responses. These results also indicate the importance of considering parvovirus B19 infection in the differential diagnosis of persistent anemia in transplanted patients.

Parvovirus B19; Anemia; Renal transplant; Antibodies