Generally, school-aged children are most often affected. Infections are more likely in late winter and early spring. The virus is spread via respiratory secretions, blood products, and transmission from mother to fetus. The cutaneous findings occur about 10 days after exposure to the virus. By that time, the risk of being contagious is low.
Healthy individuals have no sequelae from fifth disease and require no treatment. However, in patients with hemoglobinopathies, such as sickle cell disease, an aplastic crisis can be triggered. In patients with deficient immune systems, parvovirus B19 may cause infection and anemia, requiring hospitalization. Pregnant women exposed to parvovirus B19 are at risk for hydrops fetalis and rarely, fetal malformations or fetal demise. Other uncommon associations include hepatitis, vasculitides, and neurologic disease.
Dr. Bilu Martin is a board-certified dermatologist in private practice at Premier Dermatology, MD, in Aventura, Fla. More diagnostic cases are available at. To submit a case for possible publication, send an email to . This case and photo were submitted by Dr. Bilu Martin.