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Mary Shomon

The Connection Between Parvovirus B19 and Thyroid Disease

By March 5, 2012

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Researchers have been looking at the role of human Parvovirus B19 in thyroid cancers and other disorders. What they've found is that there is a strong link between papillary thyroid cancer, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and B19. By analyzing thyroid tumors for the presence of B19 -- which interestingly, was found in the majority of the tumors studied -- the researchers discovered that the thyroid is highly capable of harboring B19. The researchers believe that their findings suggest that B19 is infecting the thyroid gland prior to the formation of tumors.

In an article in the Journal of Infection, researchers reported on a study that evaluated whether B19 is involved in adult Hashimoto's thyroiditis. They analyzed thyroid tissue from adults who had a variety of thyroid disorders, and they found that B19 was present in the thyroid tissue of patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis -- with prevalence ranging from 72% to 91%, depending on the test methods used. Parvovirus B19 is present in only 13 to 44% of normal thyroid tissues.

These researchers wrote that "the presence of B19 nuclear acid and viral protein was significantly common in Hashimoto's thyroiditis tissues and it suggested a possible role of B19 in adult Hashimoto's thyroiditis."

What is Parvovirus B19?

Parvovirus B19 is a virus that causes an illness known as "Fifth disease." The viral illness is most common in younger children, and causes a rash on the cheeks, arms, and legs.

Parvovirus B19 is spread by contact with respiratory secretions. The first sign of the disease is usually bright red cheeks, which in children look like the child has been recently slapped on both sides of the face, giving it the nickname, "Slapped Cheek Syndrome." A rash appears on the arms, legs and torso. There is occasionally fever along with the rash. Eventually, the rash fdes, and usually goes away within one to two weeks.

Sources:

Adamson LA et. al. "Infection and Replication of Parvovirus B19 in Thyroid Cancers," Abstracts of the American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting, 2011

Wang J, et. Al."Parvovirus B19 infection associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis in adults." J Infect. 2010 May;60(5):360-70.

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Comments
March 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm
(1) Anne says:

Fascinating because I had a horrible undiagnosed (7 doctors starred at me for 45 minutes) rash same as described in B19 parvovirus ( fifths disease) and I’m a papillary thyroid cancer survivor. I’m still baffled that they couldnt figure it out and a specialist said it was urticaria which not for nothing this rash was extreme and not hives.

March 6, 2012 at 12:31 am
(2) Jen says:

So if the majority Hashi’s patients were found to have B19, does this suggest they are more susceptible to developing thyroid cancer? Or are Hashi’s patients more susceptible anyway?

March 6, 2012 at 6:49 am
(3) Debbie says:

Having suffered with Hashimoto for 6 years and have a constant feeling of being unwell ,it explains why I have a rash across my cheeks ,like a sunburn ,I was tested fot Lupus !

March 6, 2012 at 7:07 am
(4) Elizabeth says:

I started having thyroid problems at 6 years of age. Then at about 10 or 11 I had Fifth’s Disease. At 34 I had to have a total thyroidectomy due to goiters/Hashimoto. I feel that Tirosint has made me feel most stable since the thyroidectomy.

March 6, 2012 at 8:00 am
(5) Clowngirl4 says:

I had fifth disease as a child. Now have Hashimotos. Now what?

March 6, 2012 at 8:09 am
(6) Phyllis says:

I was wondering is this B19 Parvo virus the same Parvo virus that canines get? Is is related to it at all.? And is it able to cross species like the Rabies Virus? Was a little confused about this. Could you explain more.

March 6, 2012 at 10:55 am
(7) shari says:

about 12 years ago when my child’s class had several cases of Fifths disease going around, there of us moms
had symptoms a little while after of extreme fatigue,
and flu like aches. one of the moms was a
nurse, did some research and came upon
adult 5ths or parvovirus … she sent bloodwork
to a lab in Ca who wad one of th only ones
aware of that disease as the time, and her
titers and other results confirmed that
it was Parvovirus B! The local doctors
would not evn check and had scoffed
at her. Now, all these years later, I have
had yhurodid and have nodules on my
left thyroid, the other two women have
hypothyroidism, nodules and being checked
for hashimotos. So much more awareness
must be spread about this, and doctors
have to wake up and take their patients
information, wisdom and questions more
seriously. Where has all the professional
diligence and intellectual curiosity about their own
chosen field of study gone? (not to mention
caring)

March 6, 2012 at 11:07 am
(8) shari says:

(sorry about all the original comment I left typos and errors… using an iPhone on the run… hppefully, here’s a more coherent edited version:
About 12 years ago when my child’s class had several cases of Fifths disease going around, 3 of us moms
had symptoms a little while after of extreme fatigue,
and flu like aches. One of the moms was a
nurse, did some research and came upon
adult 5ths or parvovirus … she sent her bloodwork
to a lab in Ca who was one of the only labs
aware of that disease at the time, and her
titers and other results confirmed that indeed
it was Parvovirus B! The local doctors
would not even check and had scoffed
at her. Now, all these years later, I have
had thyroiditis and have nodules on my
left thyroid, the other two women have
hypothyroidism, nodules and one is being checked
for Hashimotos.
So much more awareness must be shared about
all this, and doctors
have to wake up and take their patient’s
information, wisdom and questions more
seriously. Where has all the professional
diligence and intellectual curiosity about their own
chosen field of study gone? (not to mention
caring … )

March 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm
(9) Noirin says:

First – the parvovirus that animals get is not the same as the strain that humans get, and the disease is not passed from dogs to humans.

Fifth’s Disease was identified in the 1980s, and I am very familiar with it because my oldest daughter had it and it left her with infectious arthritis which still flares up to this day. Getting a diagnosis was a nightmare, but when both of my other children developed the same symptoms, they were diagnosed with it also. Interestingly, my two daughters did NOT have the rash and have suffered arthritic flares ever since. My son had a head to toe rash and seems to have escaped lasting symptoms. I was tested and shown to have the antibodies also, although I never had the rash.

In 1993 I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Both my daughters have had their thyroids checked, as well as others in my family. My younger sister is now being treated for hypothyroidism. I wonder if everyone in the family who hasn’t already been tested for B19 should be.There could be genetic and environmental reasons for so many thyroid issues in the family, but I think the parvovirus link should be investigated. Thanks for this article.

March 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm
(10) Joyce says:

Hindsight for me is so interesting with this topic. 5th Disease is a very common childhood thing easily passed. Always says NO LASTING ISSUES. Baloney.
I have had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue since a small child. As as with everything else from the 50s, we shared all the childhood diseases–only had polio vaccine during the scare and family members contracting it. Not till 6th grade and small pox innoc, then senior year, did we have immunizations to deal with.

5th Disease could have easily been what was one of the measles type illnesses we shared. German and red measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc all were had. One of 5 kids, approx 80 in the neighborhood–you know we GOT.

My thyroid has direct issues with my FMS/CFS and how I feel. I have to have a certain number to feel good. So my labs are done quarterly. And I alternate med doses qod. And my daily symptoms might mean the next days meds are adjusted. My pharmacist is in on this deal with me. My rheumatologist put me on to this. ALSO to the fact of controlling MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS. Hot flashes for 2 weeks in doing the tight reign on the levels.
So the thyroid controls so much of what our brain lets go on with the rest of the body. I have had heavy thyroid issues since about 1992. Out of whack level put me in the hospital–elevated the BP where there was no issue before. Dr researched and said that was a bump in the road to know. I can tell from chest palpatations to running rapid pulse, to can’t keep my eyes open which levels i need to go to. Have to keep a daily chart. Also makes a different on the FMS/CFS levels of the pain and anguish. BUT also know that other meds, etc can alter the thyroid level. Have to be persistant.

March 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm
(11) donna says:

Thanks very much for the interesting article, but now what? How is it to be treated? Is there a treatment?

March 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm
(12) Fran says:

My daughter had fifth disease. I don’t remember myself having any flu sx at the time, but now have Hashis. Very interesting!

March 7, 2012 at 4:04 am
(13) erin says:

I was diagnosed with Hasimoto’s 8 years ago after having my second child but have had RA for 22 years and fibromyalgia for 10+ years. I felt fine and only suffered joint pain and swelling. About 5 years ago I contracted parvo (from my pre-schooler) and have been battling all the classic Hasimoto’s symptoms since. I wonder if I didn’t contract parvo would my symptons have remained mild? Is this a case of chicken and the egg – does parvo cause Hashimoto’s, or does Hashimoto’s make you more suseptable to parvo? Will my 2 boys who also had parvo be more likely to have thyroid problems in the future? More research in this area is essential!!

March 7, 2012 at 8:32 am
(14) Michelle says:

Question.

How does one find out if they had Parvo ?

Is there an antiviral treatment for Parvo ?

March 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm
(15) Mary says:

Wow. I caught Fifth Disease from my niece when I lived in Oregon in 2001. I recall it was a moderately high fever and my joints all ached like I can’t even describe. I was 37 at the time. It lasted for a good week or so.

Since then I have suffered flair-ups of that same aching, especially when I get a cold or get run down. I have also been struggling with hypothyroid symptoms. I have all the signs, I have nodules and an enlarged lobe… But I cant get any help for it because my TSH is “normal”.

:-(

And now that I have a nodule with calcification, I have no insurance due to downsizing. Oy!

March 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm
(16) Catherine says:

Wow Mary,

Now this is truly fascinating. I called my mother (a retired nurse with Hashimotos too) and she remembers me having measles-like symptoms without it being measles (the red-rash cheeks) and for her too when she was a girl.

This is the most fascinating piece on Hashimotos disease that I have seen in a long time. My mother and I often wondered if the disease is triggered by a virus (I had walking pneumonia really bad when I was 28 that lead to several bouts with bronchitis).

I look forward to hearing more about this. wow.

Catheirne

March 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm
(17) Mary says:

I forgot to mention that my mother also has hypothyroid and kinda neglected to tell me about it until a few years ago.. Heh! When I caught “slapped cheek” from my neice back in 2001, I suspect that I was having some thyroid issues even back then and simply didn’t know it. I did not get the rash with my fever but the local pediatrition, when asked, said that it can present differently in adults.

Anyways, I suspect that it probably is a little of both when it comes to figuring out if it’s the cause or just a trigger. In my case I think it just triggered it to accelerate!

March 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm
(18) Suzanne says:

So, the next question is how does one get rid of this nasty parovirus?

March 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm
(19) Jill E says:

I’ve always wondered if there was a connection!! I had Parvovirus in 1998, and I was diagnosed (after an attack of thyroiditis) with Hashimoto’s in 2006. I also had 2 instances of uveitis (2002 and 2007). With every new doctor, I’ve always asked if they’ve known of any connections among these illnesses.

October 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm
(20) Mary says:

For those interested in testing for parvo call Dr Dantini Ormand Bch Fl 386 673 7005 or visit his website. Tell him Mary from Fl sent you. He seems to understand this testing.
Good luck and keep searching

December 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm
(21) Laurie says:

just got tested today, the doctor (not my doctor, the on call doctor) said it is a virus and it will run its course. did not seem concerned, just said if you go back to work with a fever, here are a few masks. can’t believe what i am reading. i have a rash everywhere and my fever was over 103 christmas eve. my whole body feels enflamed and i can’t take the cover off of my waterbottle. he said, test will be back in a couple of days and you won’t be sick by then. also, my daughter is pregnant and she is moving back to this state and living with me in two weeks. good thing that she did not come before christmas, like i wanted her to. i was in a room full of people including elderly and babies. the baby has no thyroid. already had the rash though. not to mention how many people come into my store everyday.

September 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm
(22) kathy says:

I have ashimotos and have been taking armour, my 20-year old daughter has been developing symptoms that became noticeable when she was 13. She has Hashimotos, Fibromyalgia, and some other endocrrine imbalance. She had fifth disease when she was about kindergarten age. she is an
“A” student at the university, but the pain makes being a normal student difficult for her. Thank god her rheumatologist found a good pain medication which helps her live a happier life. She is also taking enzymes prescribed by a holistic M.D. which seem to help slowly but surely. Tumeric also helps her pain to decrease.She is on synthroid.
As for me, being outside in the sun working on my farm is a great tonic.along with the armour.
I found most of the questions posed by the previous commenters of vast interest . I am not good with the computer, are there answers somewhere that I cant see?

September 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm
(23) sandy says:

My 15 year old daughter had fever and joint aches 3 months ago, doctors didn’t know what the problem was, they ran all kinds of blood tests, low white blood cells, they told me to prepare for the possibility of leukemia. On about the 5th day, she broke out with a rash. They concluded Fifths Disease. Antibody for Fifths came back positive. Coincidentally they tested her thyroid when they were stumped and she was fine. Now 3 months later, they say she is positive for antibodies to Hashimoto’s and her T-4 numbers are very low. They want her to be put on synthroid right away. Even though she doesn’t feel any major symptoms, they are trying to tell me her heart could be affected.
Her father was told many years ago that his numbers were out of whack and immediately put him on synthroid. After a few years of ticking his meds and checking his numbers, he’s told that he is at a number that is as good as it gets yet the numbers look no different than when he was diagnosed. What is it with doctors! I don’t know what to do at this point. I am going to have her numbers run again, I don’t trust labs either.

January 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm
(24) Sandy says:

I had fifth disease in 1992 when I was 6 weeks pregnant with my third child. I caught it in preschool where I work. As an adult it is worse. I had the lacey rash but the worst was the joint pain in my hands and knees. It was so severe I was in bed for a week. They also expected me to miscarry by the fifth month. I did not but my daughter was born with a blood disorder. I am now 54 and I have thyroid nodules. I am having more tests done. I came across this article and am going to talk to my doctor.

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