Learn About Fifth Disease

What is the definition of Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease is caused by a virus that leads to a rash on the cheeks, arms, and legs.

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What are the alternative names for Fifth Disease?

Parvovirus B19; Erythema infectiosum; Slapped cheek rash

What are the causes of Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease is caused by human parvovirus B19. It often affects preschoolers or school-age children during the spring. The disease spreads through the fluids in the nose and mouth when someone coughs or sneezes.

The disease causes a tell-tale bright-red rash on the cheeks. The rash also spreads to the body and can cause other symptoms.

You can get fifth disease and not have any symptoms. About 20% of people who get the virus do not have symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Fifth Disease?

Early symptoms of fifth disease include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Runny nose

This is followed by a rash on the face and body:

  • The tell-tale sign of this illness is bright-red cheeks. This is often called a "slapped-cheek" rash.
  • The rash appears on the arms and legs and middle of the body, and it may itch.
  • The rash comes and goes and most often disappears in about 2 weeks. It fades from the center outwards, so it looks lacy.

Some people also have joint pain and swelling. This more commonly occurs in adult women.

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What are the current treatments for Fifth Disease?

There is no treatment for fifth disease. The virus will clear up on its own in a couple of weeks. If your child has joint pain or an itchy rash, talk with your child's provider about ways to ease symptoms. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for children can help relieve joint pain.

Who are the top Fifth Disease Local Doctors?
Distinguished
Highly rated in
29
conditions

Leiden University Medical Center

Leiden, ZH, NL 

Dick Oepkes is in Leiden, Netherlands. Oepkes is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Fifth Disease. He is also highly rated in 29 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn, Anemia, and Fetal and Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia.

Distinguished
Highly rated in
3
conditions

University Of Bern

Bern, BE, CH 

Carlos Ros is in Bern, Switzerland. Ros is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Fifth Disease. He is also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Fifth Disease, Fetal Parvovirus Syndrome, Parvovirus Antenatal Infection, and Acute Erythroid Leukemia.

 
 
 
 
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Distinguished
Highly rated in
3
conditions

Haga Hospital

The Hague, NL 

Eveline De Jong is in The Hague, Netherlands. De Jong is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Fifth Disease. She is also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Fifth Disease, Congenital Herpes Simplex, TORCH Syndrome, and Parvovirus Antenatal Infection.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Fifth Disease?

Most children and adults have only mild symptoms and recover completely.

What are the possible complications of Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease does not often cause complications in most people.

If you are pregnant and think you may have been exposed to someone with the virus, tell your provider. Usually there is no problem. Most pregnant women are immune to the virus. Your provider can test you to see if you are immune.

Women who are not immune most often only have mild symptoms. However, the virus can cause anemia in an unborn baby and even cause miscarriage. This is uncommon and occurs only in a small percentage of women. It is more likely in the first half of pregnancy.

There is also a higher risk for complications in people with:

  • A weak immune system, such as from cancer, leukemia, or HIV infection
  • Certain blood problems such as sickle cell anemia

Fifth disease can cause severe anemia, which will need treatment.

When should I contact a medical professional for Fifth Disease?

You should call your provider if:

  • Your child has symptoms of fifth disease.
  • You are pregnant and think you may have been exposed to the virus or you have a rash.
Fifth disease
What are the latest Fifth Disease Clinical Trials?
Acute Human Parvovirus B19 Infection Triggers Immune-Mediated Transient Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome, Extreme Direct Hyperbilirubinemia and Acute Hepatitis in Patients With Hereditary Hemolytic Anemias: Multicenter Pathophysiological Study
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What are the Latest Advances for Fifth Disease?
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and thrombotic microangiopathy after parvovirus B19 infection and renal transplantation: a case report.
Neurological Manifestations Associated with Parvovirus B19 Infection in Immunocompetent Children: Case Series and Systematic Review.
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Proliferative glomerulonephritis with monoclonal immunoglobulin deposits associated with parvovirus B19.
What are our references for Fifth Disease?

Brown KE. Human parvoviruses, including parvovirus B19V and human bocaparvoviruses. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 147.

Koch WC. Parvoviruses. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 278.

Michaels MG, Williams JV. Infectious diseases. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 13.