Fifth Disease | Overview

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What is fifth disease?

Fifth disease is a mild viral infection caused by human parvovirus B19. Fifth disease got its name because it was listed as the fifth of several illnesses that commonly caused rashes in children before the modern era of vaccines. Four others worth mentioning are measles (rubeola), chicken pox (varicella), German measles (3-day measles, rubella) and roseola. You may also hear fifth disease called “slapped cheek disease” or “face disease” because of the rash that may appear on the face. The medical name for fifth disease is erythema infectiosum (say: ear-uh-thee-muh en-fekt-shee-oh-sum).

About half of people get fifth disease sometime during childhood or their teens. Once you’ve had fifth disease, you will not be at risk of getting it again.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 08/09

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