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Fifth Disease (parvovirus B19)

This is intended as a general guide. Consult a health care provider for diagnosis and for recommendations or advice.

How it Spreads

Contact with secretions from the nose and mouth of an infected person (i.e. sneezing).

Can spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.

Incubation period *4–20 days.

* Incubation period = Time between contact with disease and start of symptom.

How to Recognize

Low grade fever, headache, cold-like symptoms, stomach upset, red rash on cheeks (commonly described as “slapped cheek” appearance).

After 1–4 days a lace-like rash appears on the body; the rash can last up to 3 weeks.

When it is Contagious

A few days before the rash starts; once the rash appears, the virus is no longer contagious.

When to Report/Exclude

No exclusion required if child feels well enough to participate in activities.

If you are pregnant and your child becomes ill with fifth disease or you have had an exposure to someone with fifth disease, call your health care provider.


Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Canadian Pediatric Society

MOHLTC Infectious Diseases Protocol 2022