Fifth disease is a viral infection caused by parvovirus B19. The virus only infects humans; it's not the same parvovirus that dogs and cats can get. Fifth disease mostly affects children. Symptoms can include a low fever, cold symptoms, and a headache. Then you get a red rash on your face. It looks like a "slapped cheek." The rash can spread to the arms, legs, and trunk. Adults who get it might also have joint pain and swelling.
Fifth disease spreads easily, through saliva and mucus. You can get it when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Frequently washing your hands might help prevent getting the virus. Most people become immune to the virus after having it once.
Fifth disease is usually mild and goes away on its own. However, it can be serious if you:
- Are pregnant
- Are anemic
- Have cancer or a weak immune system
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Fifth Disease (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Fifth Disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Fifth Disease (Erythema Infectiosum) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Fifth Disease (Erythema Infectiosum) (VisualDX)
- Fifth Disease (Parvovirus B19) (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Fifth Disease (Parvovirus B19) and Pregnancy (Organization of Teratology Information Specialists) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Parvovirus B19 and Other Illnesses (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Photos of Slapped-Cheek Rash (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Pregnancy and Fifth Disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)