Fifth Disease/Slapped Cheek
The following information taken from The Health Protection Agency’s
guidance book to schools may be of help:
• This is a mild viral disease due to parvovirus B9, spread by respiratory
droplets. It initially appears as a flu-like illness followed by a red rash
on the face giving a ‘slapped cheek’ appearance. The rash may also
involve the legs and torso. Some people may have mild joint pains.
Individuals with this infection are infectious during the week prior to the
onset of the rash.
• By the time the ‘slapped cheek’ rash appears most patients are no
longer infectious and excluding children with the rash serves no useful
• Pregnant women should try to avoid contact with affected children.
They must seek medical advice from their GP or midwife and an
antibody test may be performed if they are in contact.