Erythema Infectiosum, Fifth Disease Instructional Tutorial Video
Erythema infectiosum, also called 'slapped cheek disease' or 'fifth disease' is a viral infection that predominantly affects children between the ages of 3 and 15.
Parents, or people working with children, are also liable to infection.
The most striking symptom is a red rash on the cheeks. There is no cure, in time the infection resolves.
How Erythema Infectiosum Is Contracted
Erythema infectiosum is caused by a virus called parvovirus B19. The virus is transferred from one person to another via airborne droplets from the nose and throat, for example when coughing or sneezing.
An infected pregnant woman can transfer the virus to her unborn baby.
The incubation period for parvovirus B19 is between one and three weeks and the person will be infectious for about a week before the illness actually becomes apparent.
By the time symptoms are present, the person is no longer infectious. There are 50 to 80 per cent of adults who have been infected with B19.
* A couple of days before the rash appears, mild symptoms of flu and itching may occur.
* A rash and redness may be observed on the cheeks. The rash then spreads to the arms and legs either at the same time or a few days later. In rare cases the whole body is involved.
* Itching is usually present.
* Painful or swollen joints frequently occurs in adults, especially women.
* The patient may have a temperature and suffer from fatigue.
* In many cases, the illness passes undetected as there are no noticeable symptoms. However, even people without symptoms may be infectious.