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Fifth Disease

What is Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease is a viral illness characterized by a distinctive red rash on the face that makes the child appear to have a slapped cheek.

Fifth disease is very common in children between the ages of 5 and 15. It is also called erythema infectiosum and slapped cheek.

What causes Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease is caused by human parvovirus B19.

Symptoms of Fifth Disease

The most common symptoms of fifth disease are:

  • a low-grade fever
  • headache
  • runny nose
  • joint pain
  • bright red rash on the face

Is Fifth Disease Contagious?

Yes. The person with fifth disease is most contagious during the time just before the rash appears. It is spread by contact with respiratory secretions.

Can Fifth Disease be Prevented?

No. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine.

How long does Fifth Disease last?

The rash of fifth disease usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks.

Complications of Fifth Disease

If a pregnant woman develops fifth disease, it can cause significant harm to her unborn baby. A pregnant woman who believes that she may have been in contact with a person who has parvovirus should consult with her physician immediately.

There are usually no complications in normally healthy children.

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