Fifth's Disease Information

fifth disease illustration
Fifth Disease
Fifth disease is a mild rash illness caused by parvovirus B19. This disease is also called erythema infectiosum. It is more common in children than adults. A person usually gets sick within 4 to 14 days (sometimes up to 20 days) after getting infected with parvovirus B19. About 20% of children and adults who get infected with this virus will not have any symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
The first symptoms of fifth disease are usually mild and nonspecific. The first symptoms of fifth disease are usually
runny nose, and
Quick Facts
Fifth disease got its name because it was fifth in a list of historical classifications of common skin rash illnesses in children.
Then, you can get a rash on your face and body,
After several days, you may get a red rash on your face. This is called "slapped cheek." rash. This rash is the most recognized feature of fifth disease. It is more common i children than adults,. Some people may get a second rash a few days later on their chest, back, buttocks, or arms and legs. The rash may be itchy, especially on the soles of the feet. The rash can vary in intensity and may come and go for several weeks. It usually goes away in 7 to 10 days, but it can last several weeks. As the rash starts to go away, it may look lacy.
You may also have painful or swollen joints
People with fifth disease can also develop pain an dwelling in their joints(polyarthropathy syndrome). This is more common in adults, especially women. Some adults with fifth disease may only have painful joints, usually in the hands, feet, or knees, but no other symptoms. The joint pain usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks, but it can last for months or longer. It usually goes away without any long-term problems.
People with fifth disease are most contagious before they get rash or joint pain and swelling.
Parvovirus B19 spreads through respiratory secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You are most contagious when it seems like you have "just a cold" and before you get the rash or joint pain and swelling. After you get the rash, you are probably not contagious. So, it Si usually safe for your to go back to work or for your child to go back to school or a child care center.
The contagious period for fifth disease is different from many other rash illnesses. For example, people with measles can spread the measles virus when they have the rash. However, people with fifth disease who weakened immune systems may be contagious for a longer amount of time.
Parvovirus B19 can also spread through blood or blood products. A pregnant woman who is infected with parvovirus B19 can pass the  virus to her baby.
Healthcare providers can often diagnose fifth disease just by seeing "slapped cheek:" rash on a patient's face. A blood test can also be done to determine if you are  susceptible or immune to parvovirus B19 infection or if you were recently infected.
Once you recover from fifth disease, you develop immunity that generally protects your from parvovirus B19 infection into he future.
Prevention & Treatment
People with fifth disease are most contagious when it seems like they have just a cold and before they get the rash or joint pain and swelling.
You can reduce your chance of being infected with parvovirus B19 or infecting others by
washing hands often with soap and water
covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
not touching your eyes, nose or mouth
avoiding close contact with people who are sick
staying home when you are sick
After you get the rash, you are probably not contagious. So, it is usually safe for your to go back to work or school.
Health care providers who are pregnant should know about potential risks to their baby and discuss this with their doctor.
Fifth disease is usually mild and will go away on its own. Children and adults who are otherwise healthy usually recover completely.
Treatment usually involves relieving symptoms, such as fever, itching, and joint pain and swelling.
people who have complications from fifth disease should see their heath care provider for medial treatment.
Fifth disease is usually for children and adult who are otherwise healthy. But, for some people, fifth disease cause serious heath complications.
People with weakened immune systems caused by leukemia, cancer, organ transplants, or HIV infection are at risk for serious complications from fifth disease. It can cause chronic anemia that required medical treatment. 

About 50-80% of pregnant women are immune to parvovirus B19. So, these women and their babies are usually protected from getting the virus and fifth disease. Pregnant women who are not immune usually do not have serious complications after they are exposed to others with fifth disease. They usually have only mild illness. Also, their babies usually do not have any problems. However, sometimes a baby will develop severe anemia, and the woman may have a miscarriage. But, this is not common. It happens in less than 5% of all pregnant women with parvovirus B19 infection and more commonly during the first half of pregnancy.  Pregnant women who are not immune and are not currently infected with parvovirus B19 may want to stay away from people with fifth disease.  This should be discussed with your healthcare provider.