Parvovirus infection mimicking systemic lupus erythematosus
There are striking similarities between human parvovirus B19 (HPV-B19) infection and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): both may present with malar rash, fever, arthropathy, myalgia, cytopenia, hypocomplementemia, anti-DNA, and antinuclear antibodies (ANA). Therefore, it is difficult at times to differentiate HPV-B19 infection from SLE presentation or exacerbation. We report 4 cases of HPV-B19 infection mimicking SLE and review 10 other reported cases, all of whom were women. The similarity to a typical SLE presentation was indeed striking: most patients presented with rash, arthropathy, myalgia, fever, and positive ANA. In some cases, HPV-B19 infection seemed to exacerbate SLE rather then resemble it, and differentiation was difficult. Nearly all patients improved within several weeks. However, a few patients had symptoms and laboratory abnormalities lasting more than 6 months. The possibility of HPV-B19 infection should be entertained in patients presenting with SLE-like features.