Fifth disease is a highly contagious childhood disease. It is a common ailment that, historically, was one of the five common childhood diseases that was marked by a rash.
Even though fifth disease is a common childhood illness, adults can get it, also. For people with a weakened immune system, women who are pregnant or people with certain kinds of anemia, fifth disease can result in serious health problems.
Fifth disease is caused by one of a family of small single-stranded DNA viruses that is referred to as parvovirus B19. This virus only infects humans. It is not the same parvovirus that can infect your dog or cat. Also, this virus cannot be passed from humans to animals or from animals to humans.
Fifth disease occurs all over the world. This ailment can develop in anyone at any time of the year. However, fifth disease takes place most of the time in elementary school-age children during outbreaks in the spring and winter months.
As mentioned at the start, fifth disease is highly contagious. It is spread from person to person in the same way as a cold. This may involve respiratory secretions and hand-to-hand contact.
Many adults with fifth disease do not experience any signs or symptoms. This is borne out by the fact that studies show that anywhere from 40 to 60% of adults all over the world have laboratory evidence of a past parvovirus B19 infection, but most cannot remember having any signs or symptoms of fifth disease. When signs and symptoms do occur, they vary greatly by age.
Adults with fifth disease do not usually have the distinctive slapped-cheek rash that children have, but you may have a lacey rash on your body. Instead, one of the main signs and symptoms that you may experience as an adult is swelling, pain and soreness in your joints that may last for weeks. The joints that are affected most often are your wrist, hands, ankles and knees.
As an adult, you may also have flu-like signs and symptoms, such as chills, fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. These flu-like symptoms are usually more severe than they are in children with fifth disease.
You or a loved one may have fifth disease. Fifth disease and/or complications that have developed from it or other conditions that you have in addition to this ailment may have brought about the disability of you or your loved one and be what is keeping you from being able to work.
As a result of this, you may need assistance. You may need financial help.
- Understanding Fifth Disease (everydayhealth.com)