Parvovirus B19 infection is a mild rash illness that occurs most commonly in children. The ill child typically has a "slapped-cheek" rash on the face and a lacy red rash on the trunk and limbs. The child is not very ill, and the rash resolves in 7 to 10 days.
Parvovirus B19 is a common childhood viral illness. It is also called fifth disease, "slapped cheek" or erythema infectiosum. About 50 per cent of all adults have been infected sometime during childhood or adolescence. People who have had parvovirus B19 are usually immune to it for life. Parvovirus B19 only infects humans and cannot be transmitted to or from animals.
The ill child typically has a "slapped-cheek" rash on the face and a lacy rash on the trunk and limbs. Occasionally, the rash may itch. An ill child may have a low-grade fever, malaise, or a "cold" a few days before the rash breaks out. The child is usually not very ill, and the rash resolves in 7 to 10 days.
An adult who is infected with parvovirus B19 may have no symptoms at all, or may develop a rash, joint pain or swelling, or both. The joint symptoms usually resolve in a week or two, but can last longer.
The incubation period varies from 4-20 days from infection to the development of a characteristic rash or other symptoms. The virus is spread by contact with infected respiratory secretions (for example, by coughing), and from mother to unborn baby.
Persons are contagious before the rash develops.
Any one who is not immune to it.
Usually there is no serious complication for a pregnant woman or her baby following exposure to a person with parvovirus B19 infection.
There is no vaccine or medicine that prevents parvovirus B19 infection.
A doctor can often diagnose parvovirus B19 by seeing the typical rash during a physical examination. In cases in which it is important to confirm the diagnosis, a blood test may be done to look for antibodies to parvovirus. A blood test for parvovirus B19 may show that you are either:
Treatment of symptoms such as fever, pain, or itching is usually all that is needed for parvovirus B19. Adults with joint pain and swelling may need to rest, restrict their activities, and take medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve symptoms.
Parvovirus B19 infection is not notifiable in NSW. Cases are not excluded form childcare, school or work but should be advised to rest at home until they feel better.
For further information please call your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055