First, there is a very red rash on the cheeks that looks as if the child has been slapped. After one to four days, a red, lace-like rash appears on the arms, then the rest of the body. The rash could last one to three weeks and a fever may also be present. The illness is often mild in children, who may not feel sick.
This is a respiratory infection caused by a virus called parvovirus B19.
A pregnant woman should contact the physician if her child becomes ill with fifth disease.
It spreads like a cold virus: on the hands of an infected person, on something touched by an infected person and in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Watch your child for fifth disease if you know of a child who has it. Call your doctor if you are pregnant and your child gets fifth disease. Your child can go to daycare or school if he feels well enough.
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