Fifth Disease

Fifth Disease (erythema infectiosum) is a viral illness caused by the human virus Parvovirus B19.

Fifth Disease is usually a mild illness that is spread by respiratory secretions. It is a viral illness that mostly occurs in children and is known for a typical rash that resembles “slapped-cheeks.” The rash may spread to other parts of the body as well. Other cold-like symptoms may be observed before the rash breakout including low-grade fever, mild headache, joint pain, or fatigue. Once the rash appears the child is most likely no longer contagious.

Especially common in school age children this illness is associated with cold-like symptoms and a rash that appears a few days later. The red rash typically begins on the face. A person with parvovirus infection is most contagious before the rash appears - either during the incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) or during the time when he or she has only mild respiratory symptoms.

Fact sheets from the State of Connecticut DPH and the CDC can be found in the links below which include information about cause, transmission, and course of the illness as well as adult exposure during pregnancy. Anyone who may be pregnant, immunocompromised or has a blood disorder should contact his or her physician for medical advice.

If your child does develop Fifth Disease, he/she should be kept from attending school until his/her physician permits return, and a statement confirming the Fifth Disease diagnosis should be faxed from the physician to the school nurse.

Please click on this link to the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health for information about cause, transmission, and course of the illness as well as facts about adult exposure during pregnancy.

Please click on this link to the CDC for more information on Fifth Disease.

Additional information from the CDC: Parvovirus B19 and Pregnancy

This information is provided as a service of the Southington School Health Services. It is not meant to take the place of your doctor’s recommendations.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this material. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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