Algoma Public Health
- Fifth Disease
What is it?
- A mild viral disease that causes a red rash.
- Parvovirus B19 is recognized as the cause of fifth disease.
- More common in children.
- Can cause complications for the following persons – pregnant women, persons with sickle cell anemia, persons with weakened immune systems (e.g. cancer, AIDS)
What are the symptoms?
- Coughing, sneezing, slight or no fever
- Very red cheeks (slapped-face appearance.)
- Lace-like rash on the arms, legs and trunk.
- Rash comes and goes for 1 to 3 weeks.
- Exposure to sunlight or heat (e.g. bathing) brings out rash.
- Adults may not have a rash but may have joint pains lasting days to months.
How quickly do symptoms develop?
- Within 4 – 20 days after coming in contact with the virus.
How is it spread?
- Contact with respiratory secretions nose and throat discharge.
- A pregnant woman can pass it to her unborn child.
How long is it contagious?
- Probably not contagious after rash develops.
- Children with Fifth disease may continue to attend school/daycare if they do not have a fever and feel well enough to take part in activities..
How is it treated?
- No specific treatment.
What can you do?
- Exposed pregnant women or infected persons who could have complications should contact their doctor.
- Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, face cloths and towels.
- Wash your hands frequently.
Date of Creation: June 1, 2015
Last Modified: Feb 25, 2015