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Slapped cheek syndrome or fifth disease is a viral infection most commonly affecting children aged between 3 and 15 years. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and clinical features which most commonly involves the appearance of a distinct blotchy red rash across the cheeks accompanied by a sore throat, fever, headaches and upset stomach.
In adult cases of infection, the symptom is typically joint pain and stiffness and the absence of the distinctive red cheeks means diagnosis may be missed at first in adults. To confirm diagnosis, a chest X-ray may be performed to check for infection and blood tested for antibodies to the virus.
Blood tests are also recommended for individuals who are at high risk of serious complications of infection. These include:
There are no known vaccines that can protect against slapped cheek syndrome. The infection itself is mild and self remitting and usually resolves within a week without complications while providing the child with a lifelong immunity against the virus.
However, the illness may be managed in the following ways: