What are stages of erythema infectiosum (fifth disease)?

Updated: Mar 06, 2020
  • Author: Glenn L Zellman, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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These symptoms precede a symptom-free period of about 7-10 days, after which the infection progresses through the following stages:

  • Phase 1 - The exanthem begins with the classic slapped-cheek appearance, which typically fades over 2-4 days [1]

  • Phase 2 - This phase occurs 1-4 days later and is characterized by an erythematous maculopapular rash that fades into a classic lacelike reticular pattern as confluent areas clear [4]

  • Phase 3 - Frequent clearing and recurrences for weeks or occasionally months may occur due to stimuli such as exercise, irritation, stress, or overheating of the skin from sunlight or bathing in hot water

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.

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