Erythema infectiosum

Erythema infectiosum

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

Key Points
*Common viral illness, often affecting young children
*Caused by the B19 papovirus
*Initially consist of bright redness in the cheeks, followed by the development of a rash on the arms, legs and torso
*Also accompanied by fever in some cases

Fifth disease is a viral illness most common in young children. It initially presents as a marked redness of the cheeks, as if the affected child has been slapped. This is followed by the development of a rash on the arms, legs and torso, which fades from the center. It is also accompanied by fever and/or joint pain in some cases. The rash may persist on and off over several weeks, and heat, exercise and emotional distress may cause it to return.

While Fifth Disease can affect anyone, it is most common in young children. Most adults have antibodies which prevent the virus from affecting them, which suggests that most infections may go unnoticed. Pregnant women are at significant risk if they contract the infection, as it can cause harm to the fetus.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)

    Measles
    Mumps
    Rubella
    Roseola Infantum
    Scarlet fever
    Lupus
    Erythematosus

    Diagnosis
    Key Points
    *Diagnosis based on appearance of the rash, which is very distinct
    *Blood tests may be performed to confirm diagnosis or rule out other similar-appearing conditions

    Fifth Disease is typically diagnosed based on the appearance of the rash, which is very distinct. Health care professionals may perform blood tests to confirm the diagnosis or to rule out other conditions with similar appearance. Pregnant women must be tested if it is suspected they have been in contact with an affected person.

    Treatment
    *Typically, no treatment is required in affected children
    *Pain relievers may be administered if the condition is accompanied by fever and/or joint pain
    OTC Options: Acetaminophen

    Fifth disease is not life-threatening and typically requires no treatment in affected children. If the infection is accompanied by fever and/or joint pain, pain relievers such as acetaminophen may be administered to control these symptoms.

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