How is erythema infectiosum (fifth disease) prevented?

Updated: Mar 06, 2020
  • Author: Glenn L Zellman, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Because children with erythema infectiosum are contagious prior to the onset of the classic-appearing rash, preventing the spread of this common childhood exanthem is difficult. Attentive parents can only give their children the general good advice to frequently wash their hands and to avoid the sneezes, coughs, and discarded tissues of children who appear sick.

Public health and infection control

Since children with erythema infectiosum are contagious only during the asymptomatic viremic period (occurring approximately 1 wk before the rash appears), restricting them from attending school is not necessary by the time the clinical diagnosis is made. [51]

Patients with PV-B19–induced aplastic crisis or chronic anemia may be actively viremic during the illness. Patients require routine respiratory isolation, since the virus can be spread via aerosolized respiratory droplets.

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