• Fifth's Disease

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    Fifth Disease

    Fifth disease, which is especially common in kids between the ages of 5 and

    15, usually produces a distinctive red rash on the face that makes a child

    appear to have a "slapped cheek." The rash then spreads to the trunk, arms,

    and legs.

    About Fifth Disease

    Fifth disease is actually just a viral illness that most kids recover from

    quickly and without complications.

    Fifth disease (also called erythema infectiosum) is caused by parvovirus B19.

    A human virus, parvovirus B19 is not the same parvovirus that veterinarians

    may be concerned about in pets, especially dogs, and it cannot be passed from

    humans to animals or vice versa.

    Studies show that although 40% to 60% of adults worldwide have laboratory

    evidence of a past parvovirus B19 infection, most can't remember having had

    symptoms of fifth disease. This leads medical experts to believe that most

    people with a B19 infection have either very mild symptoms or no symptoms at

    all.

    Fifth disease occurs everywhere in the world. Outbreaks tend to happen in the

    late winter and early spring, but there can be sporadic cases of the disease

    throughout the year.

    Signs and Symptoms

     Fifth disease begins with a low-grade fever, headache, and mild cold-like

    symptoms (a stuffy or runny nose). These symptoms pass, and the illness seems

    to be gone until a rash appears a few days later.

    The bright red rash usually begins on the face. Several days later, the rash

    spreads and red blotches (usually lighter in color) extend down to the trunk,

    arms, and legs. The rash usually spares the palms of the hands and soles of

    the feet. As the centers of the blotches begin to clear, the rash takes on a

    lacy net-like appearance. Kids younger than 10 years old are most likely to

    get the rash.

    Older kids and adults sometimes complain that the rash itches, but most kids

    with a rash do not look sick and no longer have fever. Certain stimuli

    (including sunlight, heat, exercise, and stress) may reactivate the rash

    until it completely fades. It may take 1 to 3 weeks for the rash to

    completely clear, and during that time it may seem to worsen until it finally

    fades away entirely.

    Other symptoms that sometimes occur with fifth disease include swollen

    glands, red eyes, sore throat, diarrhea, and rarely, rashes that look like

    blisters or bruises.

    In some cases, especially in adults and older teens, an attack of fifth