Fifth disease

Fifth disease is an infectious disease caused by parvovirus B19 which mainly affects children and young people between the ages of 5 and 15.

Overview

Fifth disease is an infectious disease caused by parvovirus B19 which mainly affects children and young people between the ages of 5 and 15. Asymptomatic or mild progression is normal. Typical symptoms include a slight fever and a rash on the cheeks, extremities and torso. General hygiene measures can help prevent an infection.

Symptoms

Symptoms

Incubation period: 4-14 days

  • Course
    • Children: asymptomatic or mild progression
    • Adults: often severe progression
Possible symptoms
  • Slightly reduced general condition
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Characteristic skin rash (only for around 20% of infections)
    • Cheeks, so-called butterfly rash (nose and mouth aren't affected)
    • Torso and extremities (lacy appearance)
    • Slight itching
Complications

Causes and treatment

Cause

Diagnosis

  • Physical examination
  • Blood test (search for pathogen), if necessary

Treatment

  • Treatment usually isn't necessary
  • Treatment of symptoms, if necessary

What can I do myself?

  • Prevention
    • No vaccine available
    • Hygiene measures for prevention
    • Avoid direct contact with patients

When to see a doctor?

  • Severe progression and complications
  • Contact with a fifth disease patient during pregnancy
  • Stiff neck, disorientation
  • Fever and skin rash

Synonyms

fifth disease, erythema infectiosum, slapped cheek syndrome, parvovirus infection

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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