Often called the fifth disease, it is not well known but is nevertheless rampant in schools. This common disease in children may pose risks to pregnant women.
Children are plagued by many highly contagious diseases. The famous foot-hand-mouth, for example, in toddlers is characterized by red pimples and fever but is not dangerous. And we no longer cite chickenpox, the great classic of childhood. But there is another disease that we forget, parovirus B19, also called fifth disease. It is very present in children and very contagious, if it remains without consequences for the little ones, in pregnant women it can be very dangerous.
Fifth disease is characterized by very red cheeks, which also gave it this name, “slapped cheek” disease. For the rest of the symptoms, they vary greatly from one child to another: fever, headache, runny nose, cough… The red marks on the cheeks can spread to several parts of the child’s body. No treatment or vaccine is available for this disease but people who have already had it are immune.
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The fifth dangerous disease for pregnant women
This disease is very contagious and it is difficult to prevent its transmission: children are contagious before the first symptoms appear. It is transmitted by drops of saliva, it may also be transmitted by objects that have been contaminated with the mouth. In schools, it is therefore very difficult to curb its spread. In addition, a quarter of people affected by the virus do not experience any symptoms.
For pregnant women, if they are infected with the virus, they can transmit it to the fetus. The danger lies especially during the first half of pregnancy, fifth disease can lead to spontaneous abortion or developmental delay. If the pregnant woman contracts the disease in the second part of her pregnancy, there is no risk for the baby. Parvovirus B19 can also be dangerous for people with a poorly functioning immune system. or people with chronic hemolytic anemia.