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- Bocavirus are members of the Parvoviridae virus family that are small (20 nm), non-enveloped viruses with single-stranded DNA.
- Bocavirus is found usually in infants and children who are hospitalized with pneumonia or diarrheal symptoms.
- Bocavirus is often detected in patients who are infected with other viruses.
- Although some investigators suspect bocavirus to cause infection and disease, there is no definitive proof that bocavirus causes infection or disease, either alone or with other viruses.
- There are no diagnostic tests or medical treatments for bocavirus; researchers detect bocavirus with a PCR test that is not widely available.
- There is no vaccine available for bocavirus.
- Research in the next few years should better define what role, if any, bocavirus plays in human infections and diseases.
What is bocavirus?
Bocavirus (also termed HBoV or human bocavirus) is a small (20 nm in size) non-enveloped virus with a single strand of DNA that comprises its genome. The bocavirus genus is a member of the Parvoviridae family, and to date, three strains have been identified: HBoV, HBoV-2, and HBoV-3. Bocavirus is a new viral genus that was discovered in 2005 in upper respiratory secretions from acutely ill children. The name bocavirus was derived by combining the names bovine parvovirus with canine minutevirus with which bocavirus shares some genetic and structural characteristics. The ICTVdB (International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses database) has detailed its genome and structure.
Although this virus has been found worldwide in humans and animals, there is ongoing research and discussion about this virus as being a pathogen that causes infection, either alone or in conjunction with other virus types. Many investigators consider this newly discovered virus genus as an "emerging viral pathogen" because it is only proven to be associated with infections but not yet proven to be a cause of them, either alone or in conjunction with other viruses. However, another member of the Parvoviridae family, a parvovirus termed B19, causes erythema infectiosum (fifth disease or "slapped cheek" syndrome), hydrops fetalis (severe anemia in pregnant women), and aplastic crisis (cessation of red blood cell production) in individuals that have sickle cell disease. Bocavirus has not been associated with these conditions caused by parvovirus B19.