About Fifth Disease
Fifth disease is an illness caused by parvovirus B19. Its most characteristic symptom is a rash on the face that looks like a slapped cheek. Other possible signs include fever, body aches, and headaches. Fifth disease appears more often in children than in adults, and is transmitted by coming into contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person.
Once transmission of the virus occurs, symptoms can appear within anywhere from 4 to 20 days. Fifth disease is typically diagnosed on the basis of a physical exam, but if it is especially important that this diagnosis be confirmed, blood tests may be used. Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms as the body fights the virus, since there is no medication that can kill the virus.