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Fifth Disease Transmission

It is believed that fifth disease transmission occurs from person to person through direct contact with respiratory secretions (such as saliva and nasal mucus) of infected people. Infection with parvovirus B19 occurs year-round, but fifth disease transmission most commonly occurs during the winter and spring months.

Fifth Disease Transmission: An Overview

The virus that causes fifth disease (parvovirus B19) has been found in the respiratory secretions (saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) of infected people before the onset of the rash, when they appear to still "just have a cold." Fifth disease transmission probably occurs from person to person through direct contact with those secretions, such as sharing drinking cups or utensils.
 

The Season for Fifth Disease Transmission

Fifth disease infections can occur year-round, but they are more common during winter and spring months.
 
In a household, as many as 50 percent of susceptible people who are exposed to a family member with fifth disease may become infected. During school outbreaks, 10 to 60 percent of students may get fifth disease.
 
Not everyone who is infected with parvovirus B19 develops fifth disease. During outbreaks of fifth disease, about 20 percent of adults and children who are infected with parvovirus B19 do not develop any fifth disease symptoms. Furthermore, other people who are infected with the virus will have a non-specific illness that is not characteristic of fifth disease.
 
People infected with the virus, however, do develop lasting immunity that protects them against infection in the future.
 
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About Fifth Disease

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