Parvovirus – What are the Symptoms?

What are the Symptoms of Parvovirus?

Parvovirus is a commonly encountered pathogen in research circles. The name carries a certain weight that is deservedly serious, but how much do you know about this research-damaging microorganism? For example, did you know that “Parvovirus” is often used to refer to a broad family of viruses under the Parvoviridae taxonomic family? Or, more importantly, could you identify a parvo infection in a population or in your facility?

Parvovirus is one of the most serious viral infections that can infect a research or companion population. Infections can be extremely contagious and fatal in many cases.  However, the types of symptoms you should be looking for differ based on the species infected and the variety of the virus. Parvovirus can infect humans, felines, canines, porcine species, and murine species. Each of these variants carries their own taxonomic distinction.

Feline Parvovirus

Feline Parvovirus has many names. From Panleukopenia to distemper, to feline parvo, Feline Parvovirus was once a leading cause of death in cats. Thanks to advances in medicine and diagnosis, the disease only affects kittens in modern times. The most common symptoms include a high fever, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. The resulting dehydration can lead to death in severe cases, especially in cases involving kittens.

Canine parvovirus (CPV)

Canine parvovirus (CPV) has recently been found to be a mutant strain of feline parvovirus. CPV affects canines in much the same way it does felines. The most readily observable symptoms of a dog infected with parvo are severe lethargy and a distinctive bloody diarrhea. Advanced cases will include a loss of appetite, rapid weight loss, and severe dehydration. If undiagnosed and treated, this dehydration will eventually lead to death.

Mouse parvovirus type 1

The murine variety of parvo, mouse parvovirus type 1 (MPV-1) is trickier to diagnose. Clinical signs are not detectable, making detection especially challenging in mouse populations. However, signs such as infertility, stillbirth, and weakened immune system can be observed in developing fetuses.

Porcine parvovirus (PPV)

Porcine parvovirus (PPV) affects the reproductive function in pigs in a similar manner. The lack of outward clinical signs makes these infections especially dangerous in close populations where infection can spread rapidly. Much like the murine variety, detection is usually only possible through observing reproductive deterioration such as stillbirth and decreased litter size.

Thankfully, the human variety of parvo, Parvovirus B19, is not quite so serious or fatal. In fact, many cases if human infection go undiagnosed due to the relatively mild and common symptoms displayed. These can range from a mild rash known as 5th disease to a mild fever. In adults, symptoms can develop to include painful, achy joints and in rare cases, amnesia.

As with many pathogenic infections, parvovirus does not have to be fatal. Early detection of an infection in your population can seriously mitigate the dangers of this challenging and dangerous viral family. You can find more information on the Parvovirus family by checking out our Common Pathogen Library today!

Learn more about Parvovirus at Quip Labs' Common Pathogen Library!