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Fifth Disease Verified in 3 Elementary Students
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:59:46 AM - Monroe Ohio


Fifth disease, a mild and generally benign viral infecton is spread by contact with respiratory secretions. - Source US National Library of Medicine

by John Beagle

Recently a poster wrote that her second grader had come homw with Fifth Disease from the Monroe Primary School. Here is the post from Mi4angls

My 2nd grader came home with something called Fifth Disease (slap cheek) from the primary school. Apparently, it's going around and no parents were not notified. It's a viral disease that is only contagious by sharing food, drinks, kissing, etc (My daughter admitted to sharing food). A rash will develop on the cheeks and forehead area then slowly spread over the entire body. As my little girl said, she looks like a "cheetah monster". Other than the rash, which may be a little itchy, the only other side effect she's had is some nausea. My main concern, and reason for sharing, is that to pregnant women this can be fatal to the fetus. So please take caution if you or someone you know is pregnant. Prayers are with you all!

I asked Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli to verify this. She contacted the school nurse at the primary school. She said there were 3 students over the last few weeks that had Fifth verified by independent doctors. Additionally there has been sporadic cases since January.

According to the Primary School nurse, 

Fifth disease is caused by parvovirus 19. The CDC, describes fifth disease  as a  mild rash illness that  typically goes  away on its own. The virus is spread through respiratory secretions when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Like colds and other viruses, we typically see some cases  of fifth disease at school,  each year.   

The first symptoms of fifth disease are usually fever, runny nose, and headache,  like a cold.  A red rash on the face may develop several days later and often gives a ‘slapped cheek’ appearance.   The CDC notes that one is probably not contagious after the rash develops.   The rash may be itchy and may spread to the trunk, then extremities, and may appear ‘lacy’.  The rash usually clears within 1 week but may recur if the person gets warm or upset, for up to a month. The child may return to school after he/she is diagnosed as long as there is  no fever and the child is not uncomfortable. 

The CDC states that fifth disease is usually not a problem for pregnant women and their babies. About 50% of pregnant women are immune to parvovirus B19.  Pregnant women who are not immune usually do not have serious complications after they are exposed to others with fifth disease.  However, sometimes a baby will develop severe anemia and it is possible the woman may miscarry.   But this is not common.  Pregnant woman may want to talk with their doctor is they have been exposed to someone with fifth disease.  A blood test can show if the woman is  immune to the parvovirus. 

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