Volume 48, Issue 5 (September 2003)
Commentary on: Dettmeyer R, Kandolf R, Baasner A, Banaschak S, Eis-Hubinger AM, Madea B. Fatal parvovirus B19 myocarditis in an 8-year-old boy. J Forensic Sci 2003;48(1):183-186.
In a recent issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Dettmeyer et al. (1) reported investigations on sudden, unexpected death attributable to acute heart failure in an eight-year-old boy. During amplification of virus nucleic acid sequence, sequences specific for parvovirus B19 were found during PCR in myocardium and spleen tissues. The in-situ hybridization of viral genetic sequences was negative for any histological evidence of parvovirus B19 replication in cardiomyocytes. Nevertheless, it would be desirable to subject the very postmortem tissues to an in-situ PCR. In-situ PCR evaluations for viral sequences in the myocardium in cases of sudden unexpected death at Columbus, Ohio are intriguing. PCR had amplified viral RNA in situ for Coxsackie virus B in five cases, rotavirus, four cases, HIV-1, two cases, and in one case each, for influenza A or B virus B (2). That would establish or otherwise the speculated role of any immunological cross-reactivity attributable to common epitopes between parvovirus B19 and myocardium (1).