Fifth Disease - Describe Your Experience

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What is "fifth disease"? What causes fifth disease?

Fifth disease is a viral illness caused by parvovirus B19. Fifth disease is also known as "erythema infectiosum" and "slapped cheek disease." The clinical illness was described in the 1880s and was named fifth disease because of its "fifth" position in the numerical classification of childhood illnesses associated with rashes (exanthems). Other numbered diseases included measles, scarlet fever, and rubella -- and these did not get renamed until the molecular era, when it became possible to isolate viruses and bacteria. Fifth disease was number five of six diseases named. It is a very common infection, and almost 50% of adults have been infected with the virus but do not remember having it because it often does not cause symptoms.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: tla7210, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I have had fifth disease for about 10 weeks now. I was diagnosed 8 weeks ago and had symptoms for 2 weeks prior. I had mild fever and headaches at first, and then severe arthritis since. It is worst in the mornings and at night while sleeping. My knees, hips and shoulders are most affected. Naproxen helps best for me; it needs to be taken for several days before you really feel the benefits, because it takes that long to reduce the inflammation.

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Comment from: searchingforhelp, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 14

I work in an elementary school and came down with fifth's about two weeks ago. However I did not know what I had until I found this website. My symptoms include first extreme joint pain, then a fever for about five days with a lot of nausea. The rash developed about day 5 with my hands and feet swelling and retaining fluid. I went back to the doctor this morning hoping to get something for the fluid retention. They took more blood work and I have a low red blood count. I have never been so sick in my life and I am in my late fifties. I wish someone would have warned us of this virus years ago before we make numerous trips to the doctor trying to find out what it is.

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