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Parvovirus B19 infection may be mistakenly reported as measles or rubella if laboratory testing is not performed. As Europe is seeking to eliminate measles, an accurate diagnosis of fever/rash illnesses is needed. The main purpose of this study was to describe the epidemiological pattern of parvovirus B19, a common cause of rash, in Ireland between January 1996 and June 2008, using times series analysis of laboratory diagnostic data from the National Virus Reference Laboratory. Most diagnostic tests for presumptive parvovirus B19 infection were done in children under the age of five years and in women of child-bearing age (between 20-39 years-old). As a consequence, most of the acute diagnoses of B19 infection were made in these populations. The most commonly reported reasons for testing were: clinical presentation with rash, acute arthritis, influenza-like symptoms or pregnancy. The time series analysis identified seasonal trends in parvovirus B19 infection, with annual cycles peaking in late winter/spring and a six-year cycle for parvovirus B19 outbreaks in Ireland.


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