Saturday, 6 January 2018

Understanding Fifth Disease, Symptoms And Effects On Pregnancy


Fifth disease is an infection caused by the Parvovirus 819 virus; it leads to mild fever and a characteristic rash that has the appearance of a slapped cheek. Fifth disease is spread from person to person when there is direct contact with fluids or mucus from the nose or mouth of someone infected with it. The incubation period is usually 4 to 14 days, but it may be as long as three weeks before symptoms appear.

It is most common among school-age children and those with lowered immune defenses (from cancer or AIDS) or blood diseases (from sickle-cell anemia) can become seriously ill with fifth disease because the virus slows down the production of red blood cells. Among older children, pain and swelling in the hands, wrists, ankles, and knees may occur. The joint problems usually go away on their own but may last for a few months.
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Pregnant Women and Fifth Disease

Pregnant women (who have not previously had the illness) should avoid contact with patients who have fifth disease. Pregnant women who are not immune should take steps to avoid infection. For instance, if there is an outbreak of fifth disease in her workplace, she should discuss with her doctor whether she should stay home from work until it subsides. At home, she should wash her hands thoroughly after touching tissues used by infected children and dispose of tissues promptly. She also should avoid sharing drinking glasses or utensils with anyone who has the illness or was exposed to it. The fifth disease virus can infect the fetus prior to birth. Although no birth defects have been reported as a result of fifth disease, for 2%-10% of B19-infected pregnant women, fifth disease can cause severe anemia and even the death of the unborn fetus (by hydrops fetalis).
Fifth disease is usually mild. It is spread by respiratory droplets that enter the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through blood. It poses little risk to healthy children and adults, with a couple of exceptions: pregnant women and people with certain types of chronic anemia . If a pregnant woman is infected in the first half of her pregnancy, there is a small risk of severe anemia in the fetus and a 10% risk of miscarriage .


Symptoms Of Fifth Disease
The initial symptoms of fifth disease are very general. They often include:
◾Low-grade fever
◾Sore throat
After a few days of having these symptoms, most young people develop a red rash that first appears on the cheeks. The rash often spreads to the arms, legs, and trunk of the body within a few days. The rash may last for weeks, but usually by the time you see it you’re no longer contagious.
The rash is more likely to appear in children than in adults with fifth disease. In fact, the main symptom adults usually experience is joint pain. The joint pain can last for several weeks and is usually most prominent in the wrists, ankles, and knees.


Author: Richard Smith