Slapped Cheek or Fifth Disease -erythema infectiosum
Catherine Frost Cause parvovirus B19 is a viral infection that causes slapped cheek. This is not the same one that occurs in animals, and cannot be passed between animals and humans. People usually get it in early spring.
Catherine Frost Infectious? Patients with the rash are usually not contagious. The virus of fifth disease is spread mostly by droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can be spread.
Catherine Frost symptoms Slapped cheek usually occurs in winter and spring. A fever and malaise are the first signs of the disease. A rash (the ‘slapped cheek’) appears after about a week and after 3-4 days, a fine, red, lacelike rash can develop over the rest of the body. The rashes can last for anything up to three weeks, coming and going. Older children and adults with the disease may get swollen joints (arthritis) which clears within a few days.
Catherine Frost treatment The treatment is supportive only. Fluids and rest are important. Antibiotics do nothing because fifth disease is a viral illness. In those with persistent arthritis, antiinflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be used.
Catherine Frost Immunisation There is know immunisation or medicine that will prevent the onset of Slapped Cheek but frequent hand washing is recommended to reduce the spread of parvovirus.
Catherine Frost Recovery Once the rash is present, the person is no longer infectious and doesn’t need to be isolated. Because slapped cheek is a viral infection, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Lots of rest is advised for recovery. Most patients survive.
Catherine Frost Common to Australia or the World? Slapped cheek is a common childhood disease and is found all over the world. Up to 50 percent of susceptible household contacts and 10 to 60 percent of child care or school contacts may be infected during outbreaks
Catherine Frost Fun stuff Pregnant women in contact with Fifth disease should seek medical advice and have a blood test Children with haemolytic blood disorders or leukaemia must avoid children with Fifth disease The virus is most common in school-aged children, but babies can get it too.
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