The Connection Between Parvovirus B19 and Thyroid Disease

researcher looking in microscope
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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.

Supporting Research

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 fades, and usually goes away within one to two weeks.

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.