Fifth disease is a mild rash illness caused by parvovirus B19. It is more common in children than adults. A person usually gets sick with fifth disease within four to 14 days after getting infected with parvovirus B19. This disease, also called erythema infectiosum, got its name because it was fifth in a list of historical classifications of common skin rash illnesses in children.
Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms of fifth disease are usually mild and may include
- runny nose
You can get a rash on your face and body
You may get a red rash on your face called “slapped cheek” rash. This rash is the most recognized feature of fifth disease. It is more common in children than adults.
Some people may get a second rash a few days later on their chest, back, buttocks, or arms and legs. The rash may be itchy, especially on the soles of the feet. It can vary in intensity and usually goes away in seven to 10 days, but it can come and go for several weeks. As it starts to go away, it may look lacy.
You may also have painful or swollen joints
People with fifth disease can also develop pain and swelling in their joints. This is called polyarthropathy syndrome. It is more common in adults, especially women. Some adults with fifth disease may only have painful joints, usually in the hands, feet, or knees, and no other symptoms. The joint pain usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks, but it can last for months or longer. It usually goes away without any long-term problems.