Most people with parvovirus infection have no signs or symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they vary greatly depending on the age of the person who has the disease.
Parvovirus symptoms in children
Early signs and symptoms of parvovirus infection in children may include:
- Upset stomach
- Runny nose
Distinctive facial rash
Several days after the appearance of early symptoms, a distinctive bright red facial rash may appear — usually on both cheeks. Eventually it may extend to the arms, trunk, thighs and buttocks, where the rash has a pink, lacy, slightly raised appearance. The rash may be itchy, especially on the soles of the feet.
Generally, the rash occurs near the end of the illness. It's possible to mistake the rash for other viral rashes or a medicine-related rash. The rash may come and go for up to three weeks, becoming more visible when a child is exposed to extreme temperatures or spends time in the sun.
Parvovirus symptoms in adults
Adults don't usually develop the slapped-cheek rash. Instead, the most prominent symptom of parvovirus infection in adults is joint soreness, lasting days to weeks. Joints most commonly affected are the hands, wrists, knees and ankles.
When to see a doctor
Generally, you don't need to see a doctor for parvovirus infection. But if you or your child has an underlying condition that may increase the risk of complications, make an appointment with your doctor. These conditions include:
Mar. 24, 2015
- Sickle cell anemia
- Impaired immune system
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- Riley LE, et al. Parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Jordan JA. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of human parvovirus B19 infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Parvovirus B19 (fifth disease). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parvovirusB19/fifth-disease.html. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- Pregnancy and fifth disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parvovirusb19/fifth-disease.html. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
- CDC study shows sharp decline in Reye's syndrome among U.S. children. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/reye.htm. Accessed Feb. 9, 2015.
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