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Fifth Disease

John Brunstein brunstei at UNIXG.UBC.CA
Wed Jul 26 11:44:22 EST 1995


	AKA Erythema infectiousum (SP?), your friend has caught a 
parvovirus- B19 to be exact.  B19 is a small (5000 nucleotide) 
single-stranded DNA virus with an unenveloped icosahedral capsid roughly 
20 nm across.  Treatment- as for any mild flu-like illness (fluids, time 
off, watching bad mid-day TV).  Prognosis- it will go away with no (see 
below) residual effects.  Most of us (>90% of adults according to a 
British study) have had the disease, usually in youth; most of us never 
knew we had it.
	Ok, there are a few exceptions.  If your friend is pregnant then 
there is some evidence that there could be risk to the fetus (see the 
doctor for more information).  There is also some evidence for what I 
believe is referred to as 'chronic polyarthropathy' in a small number of 
cases, but how serious this is I don't know.  As stated above, the vast 
majority of the population never even knows they had a B19 infection.
	Disclaimers: (1) I'm not a doctor, so your friend should see 
his/hers for advice on treatment.  (2) It's early in the morning and I am 
just struggling through my fist cup of coffee, so ther could be minor 
errors or ommissions in what I've said above (but the gist of it is 
correct).  (3)  I have no financial links to B19, I just happen to be a 
grad student who works in a lab which studies parvoviruses including this 
one.
	Hope this information puts your friend's mind at rest.

 On Wed, 26 Jul 1995, JOE BRENNAN wrote:

> A friend of mine was just diagnosed with fifth disease.  I was wondering 
> if someone could tell me what type of virus causes this disease.  If 
> possible I would also like information on the etiology, prognosis and 
> treatment.
> 
> 
> 



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