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Fifths Disease

Thursday, February 01, 2018
Friday, February 09, 2018
Friday, February 09, 2018

Dear Parents/Guardians: 

There has been a recent case of Fifth Disease in one of our kindergarten classrooms. 

Fifth Disease is a common infection that occurs especially in children.  It is caused by a virus called Parovirus B19.  The illness is often very mild and a child may not even feel sick. 

Adults usually get a more severe case, with fever and painful muscles and joints.  At least 50 to 80 percent of adults have had Fifth Disease in childhood and will not get it again if they come in to contact with a person with the infection 

The disease spreads the same way as a cold virus, person to person through secretions and sharing drinking glasses and utensils.  A person is most contagious before the rash appears and is no longer contagious after the rash appears.  

The symptoms of Fifth Disease may begin with a headache, body aches and a fever.  These symptoms usually end, but in seven to ten days, a very red rash on the cheeks appears, making the face look like it has been slapped.  This rash may last from one to three weeks.  Symptoms appear four to twenty one days after being infected.

If you are pregnant and you have been in contact with someone with Fifth Disease, please contact your doctor.  There is a very small risk to the fetus for developing anemia if a susceptible mother is exposed.  Pregnant women who had had Fifth Disease in the past are not at risk of getting the disease again. In order to ensure the safety of our staff who are pregnant, we ask that parents advise the school if your child has a diagnosed case of Fifth's Disease.   

Although there is no specific medication or vaccination for Fifth Disease,  children are encouraged to use good hygiene practices, including frequent had washing, throwing out used facial tissues, and not sharing eating utensils. ​

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Communicable Disease Team at 705-721-7520 ext. 8809.​

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