A 59 year old woman presented with an influenza-like illness preceding signs and symptoms strongly suggestive of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which progressed over several months. Owing to these influenza-like symptoms, a viral cause of her illness was sought. Human parvovirus B19 serology was positive and antibodies to DNA were detected by two different methods. This patient is believed to be the first report of human parvovirus B19 infection coinciding with the onset of SLE. The evidence for B19 virus and the part it plays in autoimmunity and arthritis is discussed.
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