Fifth disease, also called erythema infectiosum, is another common viral infection that most kids get in early childhood.
Like roseola, fifth disease is a viral disease that causes a rash.
It is caused by parvovirus B19.
Symptoms start with a red rash on your child’s cheek, giving them the appearance that they have been slapped. And that’s where Fifth disease’s other name comes from – slapped cheek disease.
This slapped cheek rash is often subtle, so that many parents think that the rash is from the sun or wind. They often don’t think that their child might be ‘sick’ until a few days later, when they often get a pink, lacy rash on their arms and legs.
This rash often comes and goes, being more obvious when the child is overheated, and may even appear on their back, chest, and legs. It can linger for weeks and eventually goes away without treatment.
Fortunately, kids are not contagious while they have this rash. They were contagious during the week before they developed the rash.
Like roseola, fifth disease can be serious more those with immune system problems. It can also be serious for pregnant women who aren’t immune and for those with hemolytic anemia and sickle cell disease.
In addition to a rash, adults with fifth disease can also have joint pain.
What To Know About Fifth Disease
Fifth disease is a common viral infection that causes a characteristic rash on a child’s cheeks, arms, and legs that can linger for weeks.
For more information:
- CDC – Fifth Disease
- CDC – Pregnancy and Fifth Disease
- Fifth Disease (pictures)
- Article – Clinical Presentations of Parvovirus B19 Infection