Fifth Disease Information

Everything you need to know about fifth disease, please read the below fifth disease information carefully if you suspect your child or someone you know has fifth disease.


What is fifth disease?

Fifth disease is a viral infection caused by the Parvovirus B19 which is not to be confused with canine Parvovirus. Fifth disease is only transferable between humans and is contagious through bodily fluids such as nasal mucus.


What are the symptoms of fifth disease?

Symptoms of fifth disease include a temperature, a rash on the face, joint pain, headaches, runny nose and a sore throat. For more in depth fifth disease information on symptoms you can visit our Fifth disease symptoms page.


Is fifth disease serious?

Usually fifth disease is just like having a cold or the flu. It is not dangerous for most people. Rare cases where fifth disease can be serious result from people with low red blood cell counts.


How can fifth disease be treated?

There is no treatment for this disease; there is only treatment for its symptoms. Just like you would treat the flu, you can take pain killers, drink plenty of fluids and get some bed rest.  If the disease seriously affects you, such as people with anemia you will need to see your doctor to monitor the condition. If the condition becomes too severe, a blood transfusion will very likely be considered if necessary.


How can we prevent fifth disease?

To put it simply, you can't. There is no cure and no vaccination for fifth disease. However, it is not likely that this disease will seriously affect you and almost 50% of adults show signs of having had fifth disease at some point in their lives without knowing it. Many people simply have a few days of feeling run down, achy and having headaches and then start to feel better.


Should I keep my child away from school?

Fifth disease is only contagious during the incubation period of the disease. Once a rash develops the disease is no longer transferable and it is safe for your child to interact comfortably with other children as per their normal routine. Most children will start to feel better, and be back to their usual healthy antics when the rash appears. However, if you feel your child is still unwell you may wish to ensure they receive enough rest at home before going back to school or day care. For more fifth disease information on how fifth disease affects children in school, you can visit our page about Fifth Disease and returning to school.


How do I know it is fifth disease?

The most recognisable symptom of fifth disease is the tell tale "slapped face" rash. However, not everyone displays this symptom and your doctor may wish to take a blood sample to test for the antibodies our body produces to fight fifth disease.  In cases where any illness or disease is suspected you should always consult a medical expert for a diagnosis just in case.