Can parvovirus infection cause joint pain similar to rheumatoid arthritis?

Answers from April Chang-Miller, M.D.

Yes. Joint pain can be caused by viral infections. Parvovirus B19 is a virus that causes several illnesses, including fifth disease — a common childhood ailment known for causing a red rash on the face. In adults, the most prominent symptom of parvovirus infection is joint soreness, typically in the hands, wrists, knees and ankles.

Parvovirus B19 should be considered as a possible cause of joint pain in adults who have recently noticed pain and swelling in multiple joints, especially if the symptoms started after exposure to a child with fifth disease.

Joint pain caused by parvovirus infection may last from weeks to months. However, the pain usually goes away without any long-term problems.

Feb. 10, 2018