Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

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

J. MOSSONGa1 c1, N. HENSa2, V. FRIEDERICHSa3, I. DAVIDKINa4, M. BROMANa4, B. LITWINSKAa5, J. SIENNICKAa5, A. TRZCINSKAa5, P. VAN DAMMEa6, P. BEUTELSa6, A. VYSEa7, Z. SHKEDYa2, M. AERTSa2, M. MASSARIa8 and G. GABUTTIa9

a1 Laboratoire Nationale de Santé, Luxembourg

a2 Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium

a3 Centre de recherché public – Santé, Luxembourg

a4 National Public Health Institute, KTL, Helsinki, Finland

a5 National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland

a6 University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

a7 Health Protection Agency, London, UK

a8 Istituto Superiore de Sanità, Rome, Italy

a9 University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Abstract

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.

(Accepted September 03 2007)

(Online publication October 24 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: J. Mossong, Ph.D., Microbiology, Laboratoire National de Santé, PO Box 1102, L-1011 Luxembourg, Luxembourg. (Email: joel.mossong@lns.etat.lu)

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