A viral illness caused by infection with parvovirus B19.
The classic childhood presentation is a "slapped cheek" appearance followed by a reticular, erythematous eruption that is predominantly found on the extremities and may be preceded by mild systemic symptoms. Adults, more than children, may report arthritis and arthralgias.
Most cases do not require specific treatment beyond symptomatic therapy and reassurance.
Infection in pregnant women may result in fetal anemia, hydrops fetalis, or intrauterine death.
Persistent infection, lasting longer than approximately 3 weeks and accompanied by chronic anemia, may occur in people who are immunosuppressed (e.g., patients with HIV, people receiving chemotherapy or immunosuppression following transplant, or patients with congenital immunodeficiencies).
People with a high RBC turnover/destruction (e.g., those with hereditary spherocytosis, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, iron deficiency anemia) may develop transient aplastic crisis.
Typical erythematous "slapped cheeks" of erythema infectiosum
From the collection of Gary A. Dyer, MD
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