In fifth disease, the body stops producing red blood cells for a short time. This usually does not cause a problem for an otherwise normally healthy child or adult. But it can become a serious threat for people who have blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia. These people can develop transient aplastic crisis, a rapid worsening of existing anemia that usually lasts 7 to 10 days. People who have transient aplastic anemia can become very sick. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, rapid heart rate, and rapid breathing.
People who have impaired immune systems who become infected with fifth disease may develop a chronic parvovirus B19 infection that can lead to severe anemia.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.