Because parvoviruses are very stable to inactivation, they undoubtedly contaminate living areas and can be easily transmitted to other immunologically naive animals. The major routes of transmission are aerosols, oral-fecal, venereal (PPV) and transplacental. Many parvoviruses are endemic in the population, with newborn animals protected by maternal antibodies. Many viruses also appear to exist in a persistent or latent form, causing little illness in adults.

Outbreaks in mink can result in severe disease, especially on mink farms. MEV causes a severe enteritis, while the distinct ADV virus kills young animals as a result of a massive humoral response to both the capsid and noncapsid viral proteins. Most animals die from immune complex glomerulonephritis resulting in kidney failure. PPV, another virus that can have a serious effect on nonimmune animals, causes significant reproductive failure.

B19 virus was identified as the causative agent of erythema infectiosum or fifth disease as recently as the early 1980s. Up to 80% of adults in the population are seropositive. Children are normally exposed during their school years, but if they fail to seroconvert as a child, there is a second wave of seroconversion of parents of school-age children. Immune compromised individuals are at risk of developing a persistent B19 infection.

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