ZocdocAnswersWhat is slapped cheek disease?

Question

What is slapped cheek disease?

My neighbor's baby daughter has a rash on her face, and it seems like it could be slapped cheek disease? What's this?

Answer

This is definitely something that should be discussed with the child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor. Slapped cheek disease generally refers to an infection with parvovirus B19. It is also known as 5th disease. This refers to the fact that it was the 5th childhood viral illness with a rash discovered (behind measles, mumps, rubella and German measles). It is a relatively common infection that often occurs in kids. The infection generally is fought off by the body's immune system and the kids make a full recovery. The virus causes a rash that usually occurs on the face. Kids also tend to look sick. They'll have a fever and may look a little lethargic. If your neighbor's daughter only has a rash on her face and no other symptoms, 5th disease is unlikely. Referring to the patient in question, if there is concern that this little girl has an infection, her parents should seek care from a pediatrician immediately. He or she will be able to tell what she has (if anything) and provide reassurance. If 5th disease is diagnosed, the child is likely to get better unless she has another medical illness that causes anemia. She and the entire family will need to stay away from pregnant women because the infection in a pregnant woman can be detrimental to the fetus. The child’s parents should book an appointment today.

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