Fifth Disease Overview
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Fifth disease is a mild illness caused by a virus called human parvovirus B19. The medical name for fifth disease is erythema infectiosum (EI). This infection occurs primarily in school-age children between 5 and 14 years of age during winter and spring. Fifth disease causes a reddish, lacy rash on the child's face, appearing as though the child had been slapped on both cheeks. Sometimes in North America, the disease has been referred to as slapped cheek syndrome or simply slapcheek. The characteristic appearance of the rash gave rise to the names "apple sickness" (or ringo-byou) in Japan and "butterfly pox" in Hungary (since the cheeks resemble the wings of a butterfly).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/26/2015
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Erythema infectiosum is usually a benign childhood condition characterized by a classic slapped-cheek and lacy exanthem.