Fifth Disease Prognosis
The fifth disease prognosis is generally good. In most cases, fifth disease is a mild illness and it resolves on its own. However, a fifth disease prognosis may not be as good when the patient also has a serious illness, such as sickle cell anemia or immune system problems. In rare cases, fifth disease may also cause complications during pregnancy.
Fifth disease is usually a mild illness that resolves on its own among children and adults who are otherwise healthy. Joint pain and swelling in adults usually resolve without long-term disability.
A parvovirus B19 infection may cause serious illness in people with sickle cell anemia (destruction of red blood cells), or similar types of chronic anemia. In such people, parvovirus B19 can cause an acute (short-term) and severe anemia. The ill person may be pale, weak, and tired, and should see his or her physician for treatment. (The typical rash of fifth disease is rarely seen in these people.) Once the infection is controlled, the anemia resolves.
Furthermore, people who have problems with their immune systems may also develop chronic anemia with parvovirus B19 infection that requires medical treatment. People at risk for serious illness due to parvovirus B19 infection include those:
- Who have leukemia or cancer
- Who are born with immune deficiencies
- Who have received an organ transplant
- Who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Occasionally, serious complications may develop from parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy (see Fifth Disease and Pregnancy).