Human parvovirus B19 infection and hydrops fetalis in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded lung and liver tissue from 23 cases of non immune hydrops fetalis and five control cases, in which hydrops were due to syphilis (3) and genetic causes (2), were examined for the presence of human parvovirus B19 by DNA hybridisation. Using in situ hybridisation with a biotynilated probe one positive case was detected. Using 32P-labelled probes in a dot blot assay format, five further positives were obtained. These were all confirmed as positive by a nested polymerase chain reaction assay. Electron microscopy revealed virus in all these five positive cases. The six B19 DNA positive cases of hydrops fetalis were from 1974, 1980, 1982, 1987 and 1988, four of which occurred during the second half of the year, confirming the seasonality of the disease.