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The present study aimed to determine the role of human parvovirus В19 (B19V) as an aetiological agent in measles and rubella negative fever/rash patients from Bulgaria between 2004 and 2013. A total of 1,266 sera from all over the country were tested for B19V IgM antibodies and all positives were further investigated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Overall, 280 sera (22%) were B19V IgM positive and 227 of these (81%) were also PCR positive. The highest number of IgM positives was found among five to nine year-old children (27%). Eight infected women gave birth to healthy children; one fetus was aborted with hydrops fetalis. Of the 55 genetic sequences obtained, 54 belonged to genotype 1a and one grouped as a genotype 2 outlier. Phylogenetic analysis of all available genotype 2 sequences covering the 994 nucleotide non-structural protein 1(NS1)/capsid viral protein 1 (VP1) unique region junction, showed that only one other sequence grouped with the outlier strain, forming a clearly distinct and well-supported cluster of genotype 2 (between-group genetic distance: 3.32%). In accordance with B19V nomenclature, this cluster may represent a new subgenotype 2b. The study showed that B19V infections may be falsely identified as rubella or measles in ca 22% of cases, emphasising the need for laboratory confirmation.


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