Fifth Disease

An infectious and generally mild version of illness caused due to a virus that leads to rash formations on the cheeks, arms and legs that subsides in a couple of weeks.

Fifth Disease Causes:

  • The human parvovirus B19 is the reason behind the occurrence of the fifth disease. It is most prevalent among preschooler or school-going kids during the spring months.
  • The disease is transmitted via contact with respiratory emissions and generally returns for five days. Though, the rash related to the fifth disease might return for numerous weeks.
  • The relapse of the rash might be elicited by exposure to sunlight, heat, physical exercise, fever or emotional strain.

Fifth DiseaseFifth Disease Symptoms:

  • Fifth disease initiates with flu-similar signs subsequent to which rashes appear on the face and body. Transmission through coughing and sneezing is most infectious during the week prior to the rash appearing.
  • The appearance of bright red cheeks on both sides of the face, much alike a slapped-cheek effect, is an evident preliminary sign of the illness.
  • After about a day’s time, the rash would start appearing on the arms and leg region and the mid-section of the body. The rashes tend to subside from the core to the outwards, giving a kind of lacy look. Over a span of one to two weeks, the rash totally disappears.
  • Joint pains.
  • Impermanent anemia – this is solely serious when the person is having an immune system problem and some other existent kind of anemia.
  • In case the parvovirus B19 infects a pregnant woman, then it could be potentially dangerous to the unborn fetus. If pregnant women are doubtful about being in close contact with an infected person, then they need to speak to their doctor about it.
  • Parvovirus B19 is considered to cause other ailments inclusive of a communicable type of arthritis.

Diagnosis &Tests:

  • As fifth disease leads to the formation of a distinctive kind of rash, the doctor would examine the appearance and the pattern of spread of the rash that would help in diagnosing the disease.
  • Blood analysis is done for checking presence of antibodies against parvovirus B19 that would point to the presence of an infection. Though, such tests are normally not required, they could be beneficial in detecting aplastic crisis and continual anemia.
  • Blood testing could additionally be carried out in the case of a pregnant woman who is doubtful about exposure to the virus.

Fifth Disease Treatment:

  • Treatment usually involves taking plenty of rest, keeping adequate amounts of fluid intake and pain allaying medications. In case of fever or joint pain is experienced then oral acetaminophen (like Tylenol) might be administered.
  • One must not use aspirin in case the child is having fever, but instead must follow a wait-&-watch policy for spotting any symptoms of any grave illness.


As it is a mild and usually benign form of viral infection, hence total recuperation is likely in most cases.

Possible Complications:

There are usually no complications that could be observed among normal healthy infants.

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