What's Going Around: Fifth Disease - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

What's Going Around: Fifth Disease

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Doctors say a virus that looks like a bright red rash is going around the community.

"If you've been exposed to a child with fifth's disease, and you're pregnant, you're gonna want to see your doctor. The fetus can get severely anemic and in a small percentage can actually die," said Doctor Kelly Motade with the Vista Community Clinic.

Fifth disease is an illness caused by the human parvovirus virus and often affects preschoolers or school-aged children during the spring.

"If somebody breaks out with a rash that you've been around, you should be careful as far as spreading that to other people. You may want to keep your child home for a day or two to see how they are doing," said Doctor Motade.

But Doctor Motadel says it's going around right now.

"I've seen two cases in the last week with fifth disease. So it's probably in the community a little bit," she added.

The first sign of the disease is usually bright red cheeks, which looks as though the child has been recently slapped on both sides of the face, earning it the nickname "slapped cheek disease."

The rash then appears on the arms and legs and middle of the body.

"Generally speaking, people don't know they're contagious when they have it because once the rash breaks out they're no longer contagious," explained Doctor Motadel.

Fifth disease is spread through respiratory secretions and a return of it can be brought on by sunlight, heat, exercise, fever or emotional stress.

Although it's sometimes accompanied by a fever - the virus is typically mild and will completely go away after a week or two.

"Really just recommend supportive care. Sometimes there's a little runny nose that goes along with it or a sore throat or a low grade fever or sometimes there is no fever at all," said Doctor Motadel. "So it's just a matter of keeping the child comfortable. If they are having symptoms, but the rash really isn't bothersome it's just a sign that you've had the disease."

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