Fifth disease in children

Fifth disease in children

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Symptoms ofviral rash also known as infectious erythemaor fifth disease, in children and adults.

Therefifth diseaseit's adiseasetypical of the pediatric age but can also arise in adults, particularly critical may be during pregnancy.

Symptoms: fifth disease

itch, low fever, sore throat, fatigue ... these are the isymptomspreceding the typical rash offifth disease. Lymphadenopathy is absent. In medicine, lymphadenopathy is the enlargement of the lymph nodes, in domestic jargon, it is probably referred to as "swollen glands in the throat ... or swollen glands behind the ears ...". This swelling of the lymph nodes is absent inviral rash, however it is a symptom typical, however, of the fourth disease or scalattinetta.

In adults, among other symptoms, there may be marked pain in the joints.

Infifth diseasethere are three stages ofrash, that is, three phases of skin rash which, although distinct, can overlap. We talk about:

Facial erythema, which affects only the cheeks, while it is absent in the peri-oral area, on the chin and forehead. Within hours, thick, slightly edematous, warm, and symmetrically red plaques appear on both cheeks. This effect subsides in 2 days, when the reticella erythema begins, and on the fourth day the child will be full of spots that extend from the face to the trunk and buttocks. L'viral rashit is bound to fade in 6 - 14 days, depending on the circumstances.

In the case of blood tests, a slight lymphocytosis or eosinophilia is observed at this stage.

Fifth disease: relapse

There may be "a relapse" when, during the 2 - 3 weeks following the disappearance of the erythema, the eruptions can reappear in the same affected areas.

The relapse (relapse) would seem to be linked to particular events. In case of emotional distress, temperature changes or strong exposure to sunlight, the risk ofrelapse increases.


Therefifth diseaseit is a manifestation of Parvovirus B19 infection. Unlike rubella and the sixth disease which is much more contagious, theinfectionof Parvovirus B19 would appear to be relatively more moderate.

Accomplice ofinfectionmay be the same factors that cause therelapse. It is no coincidence that thefifth diseaseis more frequent in spring, when sudden changes in temperature create fertile ground for contagion among children. In any case, theinfectionit is frequent, even if the disease is less contagious than scarlet fever or rubella ... the risk of contagion is high.

How does it get infected? Through sneezing, coughing, mucus, saliva ... In most cases, thediseaseleave a state of permanent immunity and, except for relapse (within 2 - 3 weeks) if you have had thefifth diseaseas a child, as an adult you will not contract it a second time.

L'viral rash or infectious erythema, is commonly calledfifth diseasebecause, in chronological order, it is thefifth exanthemic diseasewhich appears in childhood. L'viral rashcomes after measles, scarlet fever, rubella and dukes' disease (Scarlattinetta or fourth disease). It is then followed by the sixth disease.

Fifth adult disease

Neither in pediatric age, nor as adults, thefifth diseaseit's dangerous. During childhood, it is advisable to consult the pediatrician even if he generally does not prescribe special care. Fromadults, the disease takes its course spontaneously and, just like its pediatric form, only rarely needs treatment.

When is a cure for adult fifth disease essential?

  • Pregnant
  • If there are pre-existing anemias
  • In case of immunosuppressive diseases such as HIV, leukemia and other cancers
  • Patients with transplanted organs

60% of the adult population has already experienced, in pediatric age, thefifth diseaseand, having already contracted a B19 infection, he is then immune to it.

Special laboratory tests can indicate if you have already contracted a parovirus B19 infection.

Fifth pregnancy disease

As stated, more than half of pregnant women are immune to parovirus B19, so the disease should not represent a problem in pregnancy, neither for women, nor for babies in the womb.

In adults, joint pain may be marked but, in general, the rash is very mild and the extent of the disease is also less marked. If young children, in fact, undergo a real skin explosion, already after 10 years the fifth disease does not cause such striking symptoms.

Risk of miscarriage

In pregnant women, fifth disease becomes a problem only if the fetus already has deficiencies. In the case of fetal anemia, in fact, the woman could go against spontaneous abortion. It is important, however, not to be alarmed, this occurrence occurs in less than 5% of infected pregnant women and is more frequent in pregnant women within the first half of pregnancy.

In the photo above, a child with the classic fifth disease rash.

Video: fifth disease - patient education video (June 2022).