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Fifth disease, or erythema infectiosum, is a mildly to moderately contagious viral infection that is common among school-age children, particularly in the winter and spring. Though it can resemble other childhood rashes, such as rubella or scarlet fever, fifth disease usually begins with the distinctive, sudden appearance of bright red cheeks that look as though the child has been slapped.

Fifth disease got its name when it was the fifth on a list of the six recognized childhood rash-forming illnesses. It also is called slapped-cheek disease because of the characteristic initial appearance in children. Fifth disease poses little risk to healthy children and adults, with the exception of pregnant women and anyone with anemia.

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: Understanding Fifth Disease -- the Basics