Roseola

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Roseola facts

  • Roseola is a mild viral illness most commonly involving young 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 is not contagious.
  • Roseola usually resolves without any treatment.

What is roseola?

Roseola is a mild 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 around 9 months. Less frequently, older children, teens, and (rarely) adults may be infected.

Picture of the roseola rash
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 commonly by human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/16/2015

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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.