family practice issues and general life events

Fifths disease

Today I am going to discuss a viral rash that many have never heard of, but most of us have had it.  Why?  Because I think my son might currently have it, and I may have to keep him out of school for a couple of days because of it.  Currently there appears to be a slight epidemic going through north Texas and southeastern Oklahoma of Fifths disease or Parvo virus.  The name fifths disease comes from when they were naming the viruses that cause rashes; such as measles, rubella, roseala, this was the fifth one they came to, and thus named it fifth.  Weird and uninteresting story, but true

Fifths disease is frustrating for doctors, and not because with the exception of pregnant women, that it causes any long term problems.  It is frustrating because when you see a case initially, rarely do you realize that it is Fifths disease.  Instead you know they kid has a virus, but for those parents who insist on knowing what every bacteria and virus their child has ever had, you cannot tell them what.  A week later, when they are no longer running a fever, the parents return with the child with a bright red rash on their face.  Now you can tell them why they were sick a week ago, but now you have to explain to the schools, that they are no longer contagious since they have the rash.  Schools seem to believe that all rashes are contagious, and must therefore send all children with rashes home, no matter how many notes you write to the contrary.

Anyway back to me, today I received a call from the school that my youngest had a fever.  And both children came home with notes about Fifths disease, which I have also been seeing in my office.  The fever today, makes me think that in 7 to 10 days, he will have a nice rash on his face, but what will I do with him in the meantime.

I am not worried about my oldest.  He had it while I was still in residency, and I missed it is him, too.  Didn’t know why he had a fever, and then a week later he had the characteristic rash.  It is like he read the textbook and knew exactly what symptoms to have.  My only problem was that I was pregnant with his brother at  the time, and called my OB crying because of the problems it could cause my unborn child.  (Sometimes knowledge is a bad thing)  However, they had already checked to make sure that I had already had the disease, so I could be relieved and go on about my way.  Anyway long story, not so long, I am currently hoping that my youngest does not run a fever tomorrow, so I don’t have to keep him at my office, so that he might be able to catch any other number of viruses.


Comments on: "Fifths disease" (2)

  1. Fifths disease sounded funny and made up. Then I read your post.

    It doesn’t seem funny anymore. It seems sad.

  2. Thank you for a great post.

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