Determination of Parvovirus B19 IgG in blood plasma of elementary school teachers of western Puerto Rico
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Parvovirus B19 (B19) is a common human pathogen responsible for erythema infectiosum. Other disease manifestations include hydrops fetalis, transient aplastic crisis, arthropathy, and persistent infections in adults. B19 is of much concern for pregnant women due to its small size and ability to cross the placenta, infecting the developing fetus. Viral infection occurs primarily at the ages of 4-11 years. B19s protein capsid structure confers much stability and resistance to detergents used for blood bank product quality. For this study we performed an indirect ELISA from plasma samples for the detection of Parvovirus B19 specific memory antibodies, immunoglobulin G’s (IgG), in elementary school teachers (ESTs) and blood banks. In addition, ESTs filled out a questionnaire to verify possible associations with being seropositive. In order to determine if there was a significant association between seroprevalence and the questionnaire responses, the odds ratios (OR) between seropositivity and each of the responses were computed. Statistical significance was determined using χ2 test. A seroprevalence of 59% was observed for ESTs and 60% for the blood bank populations. No significant differences were found between the studied EST and blood bank populations. A significant association was found between seropositivity and being a teacher of all grades except 4th - 6th grades. The positive association for ESTs and seropositivity may be an indication that young children are mostly infected. ESTs in contact with 4th - 6th grade children have a lower occupational hazard regarding B19 in comparison to other ESTs, according to our results. Our results suggest that there is a higher risk of infection for teachers who spent their childhood in the mainland US when compared to teachers who spent their childhood in the western area of Puerto Rico (PR), suggesting that living in the US presents a higher risk of infection. Due to the high seroprevalence of B19 in the blood bank samples and B19s association with infecting blood bank product recipients, we recommend blood banks to perform nucleic acid testing in order to detect B19 DNA levels on blood bank products. It must be noted that these are the first results obtained for B19 seroprevalence in PR.