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Erythema Infectiosum – Fifth Disease (Pediatric Nursing)

by Paula Ruedebusch

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    00:01 Now let's cover erythema infectiosum which is fifth disease.

    00:05 A long time ago, fifth disease got its name because it was the fifth on the list of six commonly recognized childhood rash forming illnesses.

    00:13 And this is caused by an infection with the parvovirus B19.

    00:17 The incubation is 4 to 21 days and it's found more commonly in the spring.

    00:21 It's transmitted via respiratory secretions, including cough, saliva and sputum or contact with infected blood.

    00:29 Now, this can also be transmitted vertically in pregnancy.

    00:34 Usually this affects school-age children, daycare workers, teachers and parents.

    00:39 It's most infectious prior to the onset of symptoms.

    00:42 But once a patient's symptomatic, they're no longer contagious so no isolation is necessary.

    00:48 Let's talk about the parvovirus B19.

    00:51 This is gonna cause a transient suppression of erythropoiesis.

    00:55 It's usually mild and asymptomatic.

    00:57 These immunocompromised children can develop a protracted viremia though for weeks to months.

    01:03 Typically in the healthy population you won't see this.

    01:06 Patients with hemoglobinopathy is like sickle cell disease, can develop an aplastic crisis if they get parvovirus B19.

    01:14 And it's usually self-limiting and usually mild. There's phase 1.

    01:19 This is where the patient gets sick.

    01:21 They have a low-grade fever, a headache, a rash and cold like symptoms.

    01:26 This is pretty low on a parent's radar.

    01:28 Next, the child will develop a rash and this is phase 2, a few days later.

    01:33 They're gonna start with a bright red rash on their cheeks.

    01:37 It's described as a slap cheek look and it is classic.

    01:40 They'll also develop a red lacy rash on the rest of their body.

    01:43 And once this rash develops, the child is no longer contagious.

    01:48 The rash can wane and wax and temporarily reappear during this phase.

    01:53 Adolescents and adults can get a self-limited arthritis.

    01:57 So when you're examining a patient that you suspect might have fifth disease, you're gonna collect a medical history.

    02:02 You're also going to review the child's immunization status and this is to exclude other causes of fever and rash.

    02:10 Your gonna do a physical exam, including, looking at the vital signs, a complete, head, eyes, ears, nose, throat exam.

    02:18 You're gonna do a cardiac, respiratory and full skin exam.

    02:23 So how do we diagnose fifth disease? This is a clinical diagnosis which means you use your history and your physical exam to drive your diagnostics.

    02:33 There is no lab work or testing needed especially in children.

    02:36 But you'll do this if a child has a known blood disorder or an impaired immune system because these are the children at risk for complications.

    02:44 Fifth disease is a self-limiting viral infection. Antibiotics are not effective because remember, this is a virus.

    02:52 Most children are gonna feel totally fine and be playing and running around when they have fifth disease.

    02:57 You can do symptomatic care for their cold-like symptoms but it's usually not necessary.

    03:02 A child can have acetaminophen for their fever or joint pain if they need it.

    03:07 The rash may be itchy so you want to avoid hot showers and hot baths because this can make an itchy rash even worse.

    03:14 And remember, no aspirin in the pediatric population because this can cause Reye's syndrome.

    03:19 And this is a rare but serious condition that causes swelling in the liver and brain.

    03:24 So what are the complications? Well, typically in healthy children, there won't be any complications.

    03:29 They're just gonna have a very mild illness. In the pregnant population, this can be very serious.

    03:34 It can be linked to hydrops fetalis which can cause spontaneous abortion also known as a miscarriage.

    03:41 In patients with sickle cell anemia, they can develop an aplastic crisis.

    03:45 And in the immunocompromised patients, they can be at increased risk for complications.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Erythema Infectiosum – Fifth Disease (Pediatric Nursing) by Paula Ruedebusch is from the course Infectious Diseases – Pediatric Nursing (Quiz Coming Soon) .


    Author of lecture Erythema Infectiosum – Fifth Disease (Pediatric Nursing)

     Paula Ruedebusch

    Paula Ruedebusch


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