Roseola Symptoms and Signs
Roseola is a mild viral illness of childhood. It is characterized by high fever that typically comes on suddenly and lasts for three to five days. Other symptoms of roseola are mild nasal congestion, eye redness, and a rash that appears after the fever has resolved.
Quick GuideCommon Childhood Skin Disorders
- Roseola is a mild viral illness most commonly involving young children.
- Roseola (also termed sixth disease, roseola infantum, and exanthema subitum) is a common viral infection that occurs mainly in children.
- A sudden high fever that lasts for three to five days is an early feature of roseola. Mild nasal congestion and loose stools may accompany the fever.
- When the fever disappears, a rash appears, which may last one to two days.
- The rash of roseola is not contagious.
- Roseola usually resolves without any treatment.
What is roseola? Is roseola contagious?
- Roseola is a mild contagious illness caused by either one of two viruses. Characteristically, roseola has a sudden onset and relatively short duration.
- Roseola is most common in children 6-24 months of age, with the average age of 9 months. Less frequently, older children, teens, and (rarely) adults may be infected.
Picture of the roseola rash; SOURCE: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. Klaus Wolff, Lowell A. Goldsmith, Stephen I. Katz, Barbara A. Gilchrest, Amy S. Paller, David J. Leffell. Seventh Edition. Copyright 2008, 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.
What virus causes roseola?
Roseola is primarily caused by a virus called human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and less frequently by human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7).
How is roseola spread? What is the incubation period for roseola?
- Roseola is spread from person to person, typically by transfer of oral secretions.
- The incubation period between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms is nine to 10 days.
- Humans are the only natural hosts for HHV-6 and HHV-7.
- Unlike some other viral infections, roseola occurs throughout the year without seasonal variation.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/27/2016