What Are the Symptoms of Parvo in Humans?


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Parvovirus symptoms in humans are age-dependent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children experience headache, low-grade fever, runny nose and tiredness, followed in a week by a bright red rash on the cheeks and later on the body. Adults experience more severe flu-like symptoms, a rash on the body and joint tenderness.

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In children, parvovirus infection presents as fifth disease, named because of its numerical order in the classification of childhood illnesses with rash symptoms, such as measles and scarlet fever, or as slapped-cheek disease because of the bright red rash that emerges on the child's cheeks, according to the CDC. The symptoms, which may include a lacy, red, body rash, can last up to three weeks, after which the child develops immunity to future infection. However, some children do not experience any symptoms at all.

In addition to experiencing more flu-like symptoms and a rash on the body, but not generally on the face, about half of adults infected with parvovirus, particularly women, experience polyarthropathy syndrome or joint pain and swelling, particularly in their hands, feet or knees. This temporary arthritis can last up to three weeks, although 10 percent of those with joint tenderness may develop long-term arthritis resembling rheumatoid arthritis, which lasts for months, states MedicineNet.

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