What is the role of RIA and/or ELISA in the workup of erythema infectiosum (fifth disease)?

Updated: Mar 06, 2020
  • Author: Glenn L Zellman, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Antibody testing is most commonly performed with RIA and/or ELISA. IgM antibody, which always indicates acute infection, is usually detectable within 3 days of symptom onset. The level peaks at about 3 weeks. IgG antibody confirms previous infection and is observed 2-3 weeks after exposure; it persists for life.

Antibody testing usually is available only through commercial reference laboratories or state health and research laboratories. These tests are unreliable for diagnosing infection in immunosuppressed patients.


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