19 answers

Fifth Disease??? - Walnut,CA

Hi moms
I am extremely worried & driving myself crazy! My son was diagnosed with Fifth Disease on Wednesday. His face was all swollen & had fever with soar throat. The doctor prescribed benadryl & tylenol. The thing is Im 20 weeks pregnant & was told that I could catch it & so can my other son because he is 4 yrs old. So we sent my ill son to my moms house & I miss him terribly. My mom said he looks better has no fever swelling gone & he had a rash on arms & even thats gone but I dont know if I can pick him up???
is he still contagious? Its been 4 days but Im confused because pediatrician said that he would get rash all over body & he didnt. So I dont know if he will get it or is he recovering. What should I do??? Im heartbroken without him but dont want to get this horrible virus. Help

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So What Happened?™

Thanks moms for all the feedback! It really but my mind to ease reading them all. I did contact my OBGYN but he just told me to keep my distance. I have an appointment tomorrow so I hope he can answer some questions I have. My sons pediatrician also told me to stay away & thats why I had my son go to my moms. I missed him so much because I knew he was ill & I wanted to take care of him naturally. The doctor had given me a release for my son to return to school on Monday so I went ahead & picked him up today (Sat) He is doing very well. Everything was disinfected & we wash hand regularly. Im still keeping my distance but I've read he no longer is contagious. I pray that I am ok & this baby! I've never heard of this disease so I was in shock but I just have to be more informed & deal with things as they come. Thanks

More Answers

Hi E.,

One of my areas of expertise is infectious disease, including Parvovirus B19 (Fifth Disease). This is NOT the same variant of Parvovirus that infects dogs and cats, and you can NOT get it from an animal, so don't worry about your pets. Also, there is no vaccine available for this virus.

Please ask your obstetrician to order Parvo B19 IgM and IgG tests immediately. Although your son's symptoms appeared when you're at 20 weeks, he was most infectious about 10 - 14 days before you saw his first symptoms, which puts you about between 18 and 19 weeks. This is still a risk period for complications to the fetus.

Here's how the tests are interpreted. If you have presence of only IgM or of both IgM and IgG to Parvo, you are recently infected. The likelihood is that you will have no symptoms, although some adults can develop a type of transient arthritis from the virus, which usually only lasts a few weeks, but can last for up to a year or more. The risk to your baby, however, is high. Your obstetrician will need to monitor the baby's development closely by ultrasound to make sure that fetal hydrops is not developing. If it does, this indicates that the virus has infected the fetus and is destroying the blood-forming "machinery." The danger of this is that the baby can become anemic and inadequate oxygenation because of this can lead to later learning and developmental disorders. In most cases, hydrops is not severe and the pregnancy can proceed normally to term. If it is severe, a specialist can do an in utero blood transfusion, but this can be a dangerous procedure, because there is risk of fetal hemorrhage and miscarriage.

The good news is, that more than half of all women of childbearing age have already had Parvovirus and are immune. If the test shows only IgG antibodies to the virus, you have nothing to worry about. The obstetrician may still prefer to be cautious and do a couple of extra ultrasounds, in case the IgM window was missed, but if you get the test done now, that's not likely.

Since your son's rash has faded, he's no longer contagious. Your 4 yr old, however, could be in the viral prodrome phase now, and very well could be contagious. While the risk is lower now that you're at 20 weeks, I would still send him off to Grandma's for a week or two if you can bear it.

When you ask the doctor for the Parvo testing, ask him/her to also test for CMV immunity. Most obstetricians are still not aware that this poses a significant risk to pregnant women who are around small children (which you are), and 1 of 150 children are born with congenital CMV which can cause severe birth defects and life-long health problems. The testing is the same for Parvo (IgM and IgG), and the interpretation is the same. You can reduce risk to yourself from both of these viruses by practicing simple precautionary methods, which everyone should do, anyway. Namely, never kiss a small child on the mouth, and wash your hands frequently -- especially after exposure to nasal mucous or oral saliva.

If your doctor wants to learn more about CMV (definitely should, if he/she has not already counseled you), the Association of Public Health Laboratories is hosting a webinar on the subject this Tuesday at 10AM PDT, 1PM EDT. The cost is only $95 ($115 if you want access to the video archive), and can be accessed from https://www.aphlnet.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?webcode=Eve...

If the link doesn't work, go to aphl.org, and scroll down through the professional development area to "education and training." Select "webinars." On this page, there is a link on the right with the training calendar. The CMV webinar is the first item on it's page. I've seen the slides and will be attending this webinar, which looks to have good content.

Good luck! I hope everything turns out OK. There is a high likelihood that everything is fine.

4 moms found this helpful

speak to your dermatologist and pediatrician
Fifth's disease can cause SERIOUS problem with the fetus
As much as you miss him, that would be MUCH worse
you should wait until you are entirely in the clear before getting your son
a few weeks of missing him is better than a lifetime of sorrow!

1 mom found this helpful

From my understanding I only think you get the rash on one side of your body and it's generally in one location such as the trunk, the waist, etc.
If his rash is gone then he's probably over the worst of it, but it might be good to wait an entire week just to be on the safe side. Fifths disease can cause serious health issues for your fetus.

talk to the dr, his and ur ob! i work with a woman who is a teacher of 2 year old. she was pregnant and one of her students caught this and then she caught it. She had a miscarriage and her OB said it was caused by Fifth's disease. This sickness is no joke. please take all necessary precautions.

Call your OB. My son was exposed to 5th's when I was pregnant with my daughter. I called my dr, and they did a blood draw on me. They said most people get 5ths as children and dont even know it. It ended up I was exposed, but it was as easy to find out as a simple blood test.

My youngest just got over Fifth's Disease. According to Web MD once they have the rash they are no longer contagious. You all have already been exposed, so it's not necessary for him to be away from home. Fifths Disease can cause problems with the fetus, but the chance is very rare. If your other son gets it, well, he gets it. Sadly, there's not much you can do about it. It's a virus. I was totally freaked out when the doctor said that's what my daughter had. He explained that it's just a virus. I can be very painful for kids, but it's normally controlled with Ibuprofen or Acetometaphine. Good luck you your guy! I hope no one else gets it, but if they do, just make sure to have the Benadryl and the pain medicines on hand. Lots of popsicles and cold drinks too.

Here's the Web MD link.
http://children.webmd.com/tc/fifth-disease-topic-overview

Call your doctor. It's better to be safe than sorry. Unless you want you and your other son to get sick, I would keep your feelings in perspective. There are a lot worse things that children could get. Just imagine if he had cancer and the chemo prevented you from being around him at all because you're pregnant. I say this because my nephew has leukemia. You are lucky you have someone like your mom to help and that this process will take you only a few days. I hope your son feels better soon.

You've gotten some good advice. If you need some support the only person I know is http://themeanestmom.blogspot.com she got it while pregnant could probably give you some good places to turn for emotional advice.

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