Fifth Disease is a rash illness caused by parvovirus B19. Fifth Disease also known as erythema infectiosum is more common in children than adults. A person usually gets sick within 4-14 days after getting infected with parvovirus B19. The first symptoms of Fifth Disease are usually mild and nonspecific. The first signs of Parvovirus B19 are fever, runny nose, and headache, and then after several days you may get a red rash on your face this is called the “slapped cheek rash” this is the most recognizable feature of fifth disease.
Some people may get a second rash a few days later on their chest, back, buttocks or arms and legs. The rash can vary in intensity and may come and go for several weeks. THE FIFTH DISEASE Fifth disease got its name because it was fifth in a list of historical classifications of common skin rash illnesses in children. Parvovirus B19 spreads through respiratory secretions such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is most contagious when It is in the “just a cold phase before you get the rash or joint pain and swelling.
After the rash, you are probably not contagious, that is when it is usually safe for you or your child to go back to work or school. The contagious period may differ from many other rash illnesses. For example, people with measles might spread the measles virus through the rash; however people with fifth disease that weekend immune system may be contagious for a longer amount of time. Parvovirus B19 can also spread through blood or blood products, such as if a woman is pregnant and has the parvovirus B19 she might pass the virus to her baby. DIAGNOSIS
Healthcare providers often diagnose fifth disease just by the “slapped cheek” rash on a person’s face. also by doing a blood test, and with that blood test you will be able to tell if you are susceptible or immune to fifth disease or if you have been recently infected with Parvovirus B19, after you have been infected you are usually now immune to parvovirus B19 in the future. TREATMENT Fifth disease is usually mild and will go away on its own. People who are usually healthy seem to recover completely.
Treatment usually involves relieving symptoms such as your fever, itching, and joint pain and swelling that a person infected might experience. People who have complications from fifth disease should contact their healthcare provider for medical treatment. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent parvovirus B19. (National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Feb 14, 2012) PREVENTION As mentioned earlier there is no vaccine for Fifth Disease. 50% of adults are already immune to fifth disease because they had it as a child without even knowing it.
When it comes to prevention with children at home or in a child care setting you want to make sure they are washing their hands often, especially after they blow or wipe their nose and before preparing or eating food. Do not share food, pacifiers, bottles, eating utensils or drinking cup. If you see toys enter a child’s mouth you want to clean and disinfect them often, don’t kiss children on the mouth, you also want to play outdoors often, the virus is easier to spread indoors where people are likely to be closer to each other. Make sure children are not crowded together, especially at nap time.
Teach children to cough or sneeze into a tissue which should also be taken away immediately, or into the inside of their elbow which is less likely to spread the virus than the hands are. Children usually do not need to be excluded from day care after a diagnosis has been made and a rash has already appeared because they are unlikely to be contagious.
(American Academy of Pediatrics, 2003) INTERESTING INFORMATION Parvovirus B19 was the first and up until 2005 the only known human virus in the family of parvoviruses. It measures only 23-26 nm in diameter, it’s most known in the pediatric population, but it does infect adults. The last epidemic was back in 1998, outbreaks can arise especially in nurseries and schools, and although there is no vaccine to Parvovirus B19 there have been attempts to make one.
This disease can be most dangerous in people who have sickle cell anemia or hereditary spherocytosis because of the decrease in red blood cells parvovirus B19 causes. (Sabella C. 1999; Goldfarb J 1999) References American Academy of Pediatrics. 2003 Red Book Report on the Committee of Infectious Diseases National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases Sabella C, Goldfarb J (October 1999). “Parvovirus B19 infections”.