Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fifth Disease

Here's a factoid for the day.

I just received a call from one the moms at our Friday Homeschool Co-op. Her son had been diagnosed with Fifth Disease. He may have been contagious the last time we got together. I kept asking her to spell it. She replied, "You know fifth. Like first, second, third, fourth, fifth." I thought I had heard of everything.

So this is what I learned about Fifth Disease from Wikipedia.com and Answers.com.

fifth disease

A mild viral disease occurring mainly in early childhood, characterized by fever, a rosy-red rash on the cheeks that often spreads to the trunk and limbs, and usually arthritis and malaise. Also called erythema infectiosum.


"The name fifth disease stems from the fact that when diseases causing childhood rashes were enumerated, it was the fifth listed."


By the way, here's the list:
Measles (1st disease) - Scarlet fever (2nd disease) - Rubella (3rd disease)
Duke's disease (4th disease) - Slap cheek (5th disease) - Roseola (6th disease)


Apparently, it is quite common at daycare centers and schools. Maybe that's why I've never heard of it. It has a long incubation period, 4 to 28 days. By the time you get the rash, you are no longer contagious. They say 50% of adults have had it, but don't remember it because the symptoms were so mild.

I hope it misses our house, but if not, oh well.

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4 comments:

Kim C. said...

Yes, some of mine had slap cheek when they were toddlers. If you can judge by our experience, it's nothing to worry about. I hardly noticed that they were sick and thought the "windburned" cheeks were cute!

Janine Cate said...

I'm not expecting it to be a problem. I remember when my oldest had Roseola when she was about two years old. She had a low grade fever, but was more cuddly than usual. I sort of enjoyed spending the day just holding her.

Another factoid: Apparently, fifth disease is only dangerous to pregnant women in the early stages of pregnancy. In some cases (10% or less), it is reported to cause a spontaneous abortion.

I just hope it doesn't pop up on our trip to Washington DC in a few weeks. We've already cancelled two trips this year for medical reasons. :(

Patricia said...

When Emily was 4 weeks old, Nick, Casey and I had fifths disease at the same time! We probably caught it at the pediatrician's office! Of course, Emily was immune - thank goodness! Nick and Casey were just a little sick, but I was miserable - probably because of a multitude of factors, including my age! *sigh* Blessings ~ Patricia

Janine Cate said...

>We probably caught it at the pediatrician's office!

That's no fun!

I don't mind being sick if I can be left alone to read a book and sleep in. You can't really do that with a newborn.