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OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of HLA type and hypocomplementaemia on the duration and severity of joint involvement in parvovirus infection (HPV). METHODS: Forty seven patients were selected on a geographical basis from 83 with proven HPV infection during an outbreak that occurred in Oxfordshire in 1993. They were contacted by questionnaire a year later. Thirty five patients were available for examination and blood sampling. Subjects were typed for HLA-DRB1 alleles and HLA-B27 status. Immunological profiles, including C3 and C4 complement components, were determined. RESULTS: Joint symptoms occurred in all patients. They resolved within a week in 12 patients and persisted beyond one year in 19. On review, none had a picture of rheumatoid arthritis, but three patients had developed carpal tunnel syndrome. Decreased C4 was found in four. The HLA frequencies were similar to those in controls; however, joint symptoms persisted for more than one week in all HLA-DR4 positive patients (p = 0.009). There was no relation between the severity of joint symptoms and either HLA type, or hypocomplementaemia. CONCLUSIONS: Joint symptoms are common in parvovirus infection and the presence of HLA-DR4 may be associated with persistence of joint symptoms beyond one week. This study revealed no evidence of progression to rheumatoid arthritis.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Rheum Dis

Publication Date





63 - 65


Adult, Arthritis, Infectious, Complement C3, Complement C4, Complement System Proteins, Disease Outbreaks, England, Erythema Infectiosum, Female, Follow-Up Studies, HLA Antigens, HLA-B27 Antigen, HLA-DR Antigens, Humans, Male, Middle Aged