Posted by Alex on 23rd November 2011

Is Fifths Disease or Human Parvovirus Contagious during Pregnancy?

Is Fifth Disease during Pregnancy Contagious?

Also called erythema infectious, fifth disease is an airborne infection brought about by exposure to human parvovirus B19. It is termed as such because it was discovered fifth among the diseases pertaining to a specific rash. The disease is contagious, and can spread in open air spaces, especially with a lot of children around. Children from 4 to 14 years of age are more prone to developing the disease when compared to the adult incidence and prevalence rate. Fifth disease can spread through direct or indirect contact with blood or secretions of the nose and lungs.

It has been said that more than half of the adult population have had fifth disease during their lifetime, giving them immunity even before pregnancy.

What are the Symptoms of Fifth Disease during Pregnancy

Fifth disease is characterized by a rash. Although the disease generally poses no harm, this could be harmful during pregnancy. Fifth disease inhibits red blood cell formation in the body, and can certainly harm the growing fetus and the mother. Pregnant women who are experiencing the symptoms listed below should immediately call their health care provider.

  • Fever. The infection starts with a sore throat, low grade, and other flu-like signs and symptoms.
  • Slapped cheeks. Children infected with the disease appear to have a bright red rash on the facial area, which resemble the impression of slapped cheeks. Women who have the disease appear as if they have been slapped.
  • Rashes. The rash may also be present on the trunk, arms, and legs. The rash is reddish and appears flat, or it may also appear bumpy or lacy.
  • People with the disease report pain in the joints, but this is only experienced by adults.
  • Duration ranges from a few days to a whole month.
  • Anemia is a common manifestation on those who have the parvovirus.
  • A pregnant woman exposed to parvovirus may or may not have body or facial rash. A huge percentage of people afflicted with the disease remain asymptomatic.

Is there any Treatment and Prevention for Fifth Disease?

There are no treatments available for fifth disease. Pregnant women who experience the symptoms can only rely on diagnostic tests and constant monitoring with the help of health care workers to detect any changes or fetal problems. There are ways that can help women prevent acquiring the disease during pregnancy

  • Proper hygiene. Pregnant women should practice proper hand washing techniques to avoid exposure to the virus.
  • Pregnant women must refrain from sharing utensils from other people, especially if they exhibit flu-like symptoms or appear to have rashes

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