Fifth Disease

Fifth Disease

Public Health Fact Sheet

What is Fifth Disease?
Fifth disease is a mild rash disease. It is a viral infection caused by the human parvovirus, B19. Most cases appear in winter and spring. Outbreaks are not unusual in schools.  Symptoms include fever, runny nose and headache followed by a rash.  A "slapped cheek" appearance is common.

How is Fifth Disease spread?
It is spread through respiratory secretions, nasal sputum and saliva; when an infected person sneezes or coughs. A person is most contagious with Fifth Disease during the fever, runny nose or cold like symptoms prior to developing the rash.

How is Fifth Disease treated?
There is no specific treatment for Fifth Diseases. Treatment involves treatments for symptom management.

How Fifth Disease be prevented?
There is no specific medicine or vaccine to prevent Fifth Disease.  Handwashing is important, especially after touching any oral or nasal secretions.  Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.  Avoid close contact with others who are sick.  Stay home when you are sick.  Once you get the rash you are most likely no longer contagious so it is usually okay to return to school or work.

Additional information is available on the CDC website at

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Headache

  • Rash
  • Joint pain

February 2020