Human parvovirus spreads through respiratory secretions, such as sputum, saliva and nasal mucus, reports the Centers for Disease Control. It can also spread via blood, and pregnant mothers may transmit the disease to their babies, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Some types of parvovirus also affect dogs and cats, but these types can't affect humans, so there's no reason to avoid an infected pet, reports the Mayo Clinic. Parvovirus can spread through hand-to-hand contact. The illness typically begins with cold-like symptoms before causing a rash and other symptoms, and those infected are most contagious at this stage, according to the Centers for Disease Control. After the rash shows up, infected people are typically not contagious and can return to work or school.
Although parvovirus is a highly contagious disease, those infected can take steps to prevent infecting others, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Covering the mouth and nose when sneezing can prevent spreading potentially infectious respiratory fluids. Avoiding contact with the eyes, nose and mouth can also help. Frequent handwashing can remove the virus from a person's hands. Those who are sick can also try to avoid contact with other people to reduce the odds of spreading the disease by avoiding work, school and public places.