Parvovirus infection is a common and highly contagious childhood ailment — sometimes called slapped-cheek disease because of the distinctive face rash that develops. Parvovirus infection also has been known as fifth disease because, historically, it was one of five common childhood illnesses characterized by a rash.

In most children, parvovirus infection is mild and requires little treatment. However, in some adults, the infection can be serious. Parvovirus infection in some pregnant women can lead to serious health problems for the fetus. Parvovirus infection is also more serious for people with some kinds of anemia or who have a compromised immune system.

Apr. 12, 2012