Fifth disease is caused by an infection by parvovirus B19. The symptoms are similar to those of other infections and the flu. It usually begins with a fever and aches. A rash often appears, and a sore throat is common. It is transmitted by respiratory secretions and can also be spread by blood. Many people are infectious with the disease long before they ever have any symptoms.
Once the symptoms are noticeable, they are no longer contagious. This is one of the reasons why it is so easily transmitted and so highly contagious. It is often spread in schools and daycares, but people of all ages can be infected. While the fifth disease is a common childhood illness that most people recover from without any complications, it can be dangerous for pregnant women, people with sickle-cell disease, or anyone with a compromised immune system. Treatments are focused on relieving symptoms of the disease.
Exanthema is one of the telltale signs of the fifth disease. It appears as a rash or red spots all over the body. While it is common for people, especially children, to suffer from rashes for many reasons, a rash it almost always is seen in cases of the fifth disease. It’s often a sign of toxins in the body, an infection, or an autoimmune disorder. It’s also a symptom of mumps, rhinovirus, and tick-borne illnesses such as rocky mountain spotted fever. These illnesses sometimes have to be ruled out when doctors are trying to determine the reason for the exanthema. A blood test can determine the reason for the exanthema and is the most common way to diagnose the fifth disease.
There is no specific treatment for exanthema alone. It is the body’s reaction to an external substance or organism and can last until the disease is treated successfully and the patient recovers. In some cases, the exanthema can last a few days after the illness is gone.