Join Date: Aug 2003
Re: fifth disease & pregnancy...HELP!
Here is some more basic information on fifth disease( slap face) my son had a very slight runny nose Fri. Sat. Sun and Mon. we thought he might be coming down with a cold. Mon. night he spiked a fever and had febrile seizures ( He usually has these) we took him to the hospital because of the seizures and fever control. Even after we got his fever down his face and ears were bright red. I mean bright red. With no other explanation for the fever found and the bright red face he was diagnosed with fifth disease. I found out the next day when I called the school nurse, there was a breakout at his school. Also the next day while his face was not red anymore his arms and legs looked like someone had sprayed light purple lace curtains on them.
Especially common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, fifth disease typically produces a distinctive red rash on the face that makes the child appear to have a slapped cheek. The rash then spreads to the trunk, arms, and legs. Despite being called a "disease," fifth disease is actually just a viral illness that the majority of children will recover from - with no complications - in a short period of time.
Fifth disease (also called erythema infectiosum) is caused by parvovirus B19. A human virus, parvovirus B19 is not the same parvovirus that veterinarians may be concerned about in pets, especially dogs, and it cannot be passed from humans to animals or vice versa.
Studies show that although 40% to 60% of adults worldwide have laboratory evidence of a past parvovirus B19 infection, most of these adults can't remember having had symptoms of fifth disease. This leads medical experts to believe that most people with a B19 infection have either very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Fifth disease occurs everywhere in the world. Outbreaks of parvovirus tend to happen in the late winter and early spring, but there may also be sporadic cases of the disease any time throughout the year.
Signs and Symptoms
Fifth disease begins with a low-grade fever, headache, and mild cold-like symptoms (a stuffy or runny nose). These symptoms pass, and the illness seems to be gone until a rash appears a few days later. The bright red rash typically begins on the face. Several days later, the rash spreads and red blotches (usually lighter in color) extend down to the trunk, arms, and legs. The rash usually spares the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. As the centers of the blotches begin to clear, the rash takes on a lacy net-like appearance. Children younger than 10 years of age are most likely to get the rash.
Older children and adults sometimes complain that the rash itches, but most children with a rash caused by fifth disease do not look sick and no longer have fever. It may take 1 to 3 weeks for the rash to completely clear, and during that time it may seem to worsen until it finally fades away entirely.
Certain stimuli (including sunlight, heat, exercise, and stress) may reactivate the rash until it completely fades. Other symptoms that sometimes occur with fifth disease include swollen glands, red eyes, sore throat, diarrhea, and unusual rashes that look like blisters or bruises.
In some cases, especially in adults and older teens, an attack of fifth disease may be followed by joint swelling or pain, often in the hands, wrists, knees, or ankles.
A person with parvovirus infection is most contagious before the rash appears - either during the incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) or during the time when he or she has only mild respiratory symptoms. Because the rash of fifth disease is an immune reaction (a defense response launched by the body against foreign substances like germs) that occurs after the infection has passed, a child is usually not contagious once the rash appears.
Parvovirus B19 spreads easily from person to person in fluids from the nose, mouth, and throat of someone with the infection, especially through large droplets from coughs and sneezes. It can also be spread through shared drinking glasses and utensils.
In households where a child has fifth disease, another family member who hasn't previously had parvovirus B19 has about a 50% chance of also getting the infection. Classmates of children with fifth disease have about a 60% chance of getting the virus. Once someone is infected with parvovirus B19, they develop immunity to it and won't usually become infected again.
Parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy may cause problems for the fetus. Some fetuses may develop severe anemia if the mother is infected while pregnant - especially if the infection occurs during the first half of the pregnancy. In some cases, this anemia is so severe that the fetus doesn't survive. Fortunately, about half of all pregnant women are immune from having had a previous infection with parvovirus. Serious problems occur in less than 5% of women who become infected during pregnancy.
There is no vaccine for fifth disease, and no real way to prevent the spread of the virus. Isolating someone with a fifth disease rash won't prevent spread of the infection because the person usually isn't contagious by that time.
Practicing good hygiene, especially frequent hand washing, is always a good idea since it can help prevent the spread of many infections.
The incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) for fifth disease ranges from 4 to 28 days, with the average being 16 to 17 days.
The rash of fifth disease usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks. In a few cases in older children and adults, joint swelling and pain because of fifth disease have lasted from a few months up to a few years.
Doctors can usually diagnose fifth disease by the distinctive rash on the face and body. If a child or adult has no telltale rash but has been sick for a while, a doctor may perform blood tests to see if the illness could be caused by parvovirus B19.
Fifth disease is caused by a virus, and it cannot be treated with antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. Although antiviral medicines do exist, there are currently none available that will treat fifth disease. In most cases, this is such a mild illness that no medicine is necessary.
Usually, children with fifth disease feel fairly well and need little home treatment other than rest. After the fever and mild cold symptoms have passed, there may be little to treat except any discomfort from the rash itself. If your child has itching from the rash of fifth disease, ask the doctor for advice about relieving your child's discomfort. Your child's doctor may also recommend acetaminophen for fever or joint pain.
The majority of children with fifth disease recover with no complications. By the time the rash appears and while it's present, they usually feel well and are back to their normal activities.
However, some children with weakened immune systems (such as those with AIDS or leukemia) or with certain blood disorders (like sickle cell anemia or hemolytic anemia) may become significantly ill when they have an infection with parvovirus B19. Parvovirus B19 can temporarily slow down or stop the body's production of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells, causing anemia.
When a child is healthy, this slowdown of red blood cell production usually goes unnoticed because it doesn't affect the child's overall health. But children who are already anemic can become very sick if their red blood cell production is further affected by the virus. Their red blood cell levels may drop dangerously low, affecting the supply of oxygen to the body's tissues. They may become very pale and sick-looking, develop a rapid pulse and abnormally fast breathing, have a fever, and be much less active than usual. Blood transfusions and oxygen given in the hospital may be necessary to treat the severe anemia until the child recovers from the parvovirus infection.
When to Call Your Child's Doctor
Call your child's doctor if your child develops a rash, especially if the rash is widespread over the child's body or if it's accompanied by other symptoms.
Last edited by off kilter; 01-28-2005 at 09:45 AM.