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Parvovirus, commonly called parvo, is a genus of the Parvoviridae family of DNA viruses. Parvoviruses are some of the smallest viruses found in nature (hence the name, from Latin parvus meaning small). Like all members of the parvoviridae family, they infect only mammals.
Parvoviruses can cause disease in some animals. For example, Canine parvovirus is a particularly deadly disease among young puppies, causing gastrointestinal tract damage and dehydration as well as a cardiac syndrome in very young pups. Mouse parvovirus 1, however, causes no symptoms but can contaminate immunology experiments in biological research laboratories. The most accurate diagnosis of parvovirus is by ELISA. Dogs and cats can be vaccinated against parvovirus.
Many types of mammalian species have a strain of parvovirus associated with them. A parvovirus tends to be specific about the taxon of animal it will infect. That is, a canine parvovirus will affect Dogs, wolves, and foxes, but will not infect cats or humans.
Parvovirus B19, which causes fifth disease in humans, is a member of the Erythrovirus genus of Parvoviridae rather than Parvovirus.
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