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Illnesses
Fifth Disease



Fifth Disease
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.33

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    anemia, cold-like, erythema, fetus, infectiosum, low-grade, net-like, parvovirus, prior, rash-associated, rubella, swelling, antibiotic, currently, sibling, recovery
     content words:    Parvovirus B19


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Fifth Disease
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Did you know that at one point in history there were five rash-associated illnesses that were considered childhood classic illnesses? It's true. They were measles, scarlet fever, rubella, one that is not known anymore - the fourth disease, and fifth disease. Have you ever heard of fifth disease? Have you ever had fifth disease?
 
2     Fifth disease is a common childhood illness. It is also known as erythema infectiosum. Some people call it slapped cheek. Children aged five to fifteen are most likely to experience it. It is caused by the parvovirus B19. People sometimes confuse it with a pet virus, but it is not. It is a human virus. Animals can't catch it from humans, and humans can't catch it from animals.
 
3     Parvovirus B19 is found in respiratory secretions. That means it is found in the fluids of the nose, mouth, and throat. It spreads from person to person especially when someone coughs, sneezes, or shares food or drinking utensils. Fifth disease is actually known for its distinctive rash, but it starts out prior to the rash. First, there's often a low-grade fever, headache, and even a stuffy or runny nose. In some cases, there might be swollen glands or a sore throat. This is when the virus is contagious. The next step is the rash, but when the rash appears, the child is usually not contagious anymore.

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