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Information on Fifth Disease

A viral illness, fifth disease is characterized by a rash on the face that looks like a slapped cheek. A low-grade fever, body aches, and chills may also be present. This condition most commonly affects children and is not considered a serious illness.
 
The virus that causes fifth disease (parvovirus B19) has been found in the saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus of infected people before the rash develops. This means that transmission probably occurs by direct contact with those secretions, such as sharing drinking cups or utensils. Because there is no remedy that can kill the virus, treatment is focused on relieving symptoms while the body fights the infection.
 
(Click Fifth Disease for information on additional symptoms, the incubation period, how a diagnosis is made, and if the illness presents special problems during pregnancy.)
 

Information on Fifth Disease

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