Parovirus B19, commonly known as the fifth disease, or infectious erythema, it is not usually a serious infection. It gets its name from the virus that causes it, the parovirus B19, and it usually affects children. The main symptom is the appearance of a red rash on the child’s cheek. However, it can later extend to the trunk, arms and legs. It is a contagious infection, but much more in the incubation period, and is transmitted by secretions such as drops of saliva when coughing. It is difficult to prevent since there is no vaccine as such but it is very important to maintain hygiene. It usually disappears by itself and like chickenpox once it has passed it is difficult to get infected again. Most children recover quickly and without complications.
Causes and infection of parovirus B19
The parovirus B19 is the cause of this infectious erythema. It is a virus infection of humans and is not the same that affects animals, ie the canine parvovirus. The fifth disease is typical of children between 5 and 15 years and is less common in nursing babies or adults.
Appears by the contagion and is transmitted by respiratory secretions such as sputum, sneezing or nasal secretions, in fact it is very common to see outbreaks in schools. However, it is not more contagious once it has appeared but during its incubation, when the symptoms are not yet very present; For this reason it is difficult to prevent. In addition there is no vaccine for this disease so it can not be avoided.
Once the rash has appeared it is not contagious and that is why the child can go to school despite having the symptoms.
Although it is more common in school age if the child has the disease could also infect parents or other family members, although it does not always occur.
Symptoms of Parvovirus B19
During the incubation period the child may not have any symptoms. This period usually lasts between 4 and 21 days.
In case of presenting any sign, the main symptoms of parvovirus B19 or human are the same as a cold or cold like mucus, sore throat or even fever. That is why it is very difficult to distinguish it from a common cold. However, after the incubation, the rash appears, the most common symptom of this disease. However, it may seem that the disease has ended and it is even easier to confuse it with the cold, since the rash does not usually appear immediately but may take a few days.
This rash usually appears on the cheeks and gives a feeling that the child has been slapped. That is why it is also known as ” slapped child syndrome “.
The rash or spreading is gradually extending and can reach the chest, arms and legs and becomes increasingly tenuous. Do not be scared if the rash disappears reddening the body of the child as if they formed a kind of lattice or lattice of small threads, like a lace. This is normal and will disappear completely in a few weeks. The rash usually lasts between 1 and 3 weeks. Sometimes this rash produces itching. You should be careful with sun exposure, physical exercise or very hot baths that could reactivate the rash.
Although parvovirus B19 in adults is not as frequent as in children and adolescents, it can also affect adults, and in addition to these symptoms in some people also appear other symptoms, such as inflammation of joints such as elbows or knees that could last for months.
Treatment of human Parvovirus
As we have seen there is no specific vaccine to treat parovirus B19 nor can it be avoided or prevented since, in addition, it could be confused with another disease or cold.
Therefore, there is also no treatment for the disease itself. However, the symptoms can be treated. In most cases it is usually a very mild disease and the children do not have symptoms or are well that is why it is not treated and disappears on its own.
However, during the incubation, the characteristic symptoms of a cold appear, as we have seen, so the child could be more off if he has a fever or needs more rest. In these cases fever can be treated, but always asking the doctor first.
When these symptoms disappear, there is no treatment for the rash, simply trying to let it go. If itching appears, it could be given a mild antihistamine for a few days, but always under medical advice.
To avoid the reappearance of the rash or increase you should take certain precautions such as avoiding exposure to the child’s sun or bathing with very hot water. Once the disease has passed, it creates permanent immunity so the child will not become infected again.