Fifth disease is a viral illness that is associated with an exanthema, which is another name for a rash or skin eruption.
- Fifth disease spreads from one child to another through direct contact with discharge from the nose and throat. It can also spread through contact with infected blood.
- Fifth disease is moderately contagious and usually does not include a high fever, as seen with some other viral skin conditions.
- Because children are most contagious before the rash occurs, some may be contagious before they even know they have the disease.
- The disease is most prevalent in the winter and spring and is usually seen in children 5 to 14 years old.
- Outbreaks of fifth disease frequently occur in school settings.
- The most serious complication of the disease affects pregnant women and can cause fetal death.
- Since fifth disease is a viral infection, there is no cure. The goal of treatment is to help decrease the severity of the symptoms and limit its spread to others.