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GPs are warned over Parvovirus upsurge

Government scientists have warned GPs to be alert to cases of Parvovirus B19 infection amid a steep rise in cases in Scotland.

A report from the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health shows there have been 261 reported cases in Scotland this year ­ higher than at the same point in 1998, the last epidemic year. The typical epidemic cycle is between four and five years and the centre warned the current outbreak may not have peaked yet.

The virus can cause joint inflammation and rheumatic disease as well as erythema infectiosum or 'slapped cheek syndrome', the report warns.

Dr Liz Miller, head of immunisation at the Health Protection Agency (formerly the Public Health Laboratory Service), said there was no sign of a major epidemic so far this year in England and Wales but reported cases last year were higher than in 2001.

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