What are the prodromal symptoms 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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Mild prodromal symptoms begin approximately 1 week after exposure and last 2-3 days. They include the following:

  • Headache (20% of pediatric patients)

  • Fever (20%)

  • Sore throat (15%)

  • Pruritus (15%)

  • Coryza (10%)

  • Abdominal pain (10%)

  • Arthralgias (10%)

The symptoms above occur more frequently in adults than in children, especially joint symptoms (up to 50% of adult patients).

These symptoms precede a symptom-free period of about 7-10 days, which is followed by a typical exanthem that occurs in 3 phases (although some patients may manifest no findings).

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