Overview of Fifth Disease

Erythema infectiosum, also known as fifth disease, is a viral infection that mainly occurs in childhood. Fifth disease is usually an epidemic associated with outbreaks in schools.

Fifth Disease Cause

Erythema infectiosum is caused by parvovirus B19. It is believed to be primarily transmitted by the respiratory route (the B19 virus has been isolated from respiratory secretions during the contagious phase). Once the rash appears, the child is no longer contagious. About one-half of adults are immune to the infection due to previous exposure.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Sep 2000

Last Modified: 23 Dec 2014