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  Oct 17, 2018

Fifth Disease Causes

Fifth disease, so called because it is the fifth of the six most common infectious diseases of childhood to be historically discovered, is normally a mild illness characterized by a rash. It is also called erythema infectiosum and affects more children than adults. Most adults are seropositive and remain immune to it throughout their lives.

The infection is caused by parvovirus B19, which is a small (22-24 nm) single-stranded DNA virus lacking an envelope, belonging to the Parvoviridae family. It is the only virus in this family that causes sickness in humans. It is a common virus and causes community-acquired respiratory illness. It has only two proteins and a linear DNA molecule and is icosahedral in its morphology. The small amount of DNA, as well as the lack of envelope, confers extreme hardiness against lipid-dissolving inactivating agents so that it remains stable for one hour at 56°C. It can, however, be inactivated using formalin, gamma rays or β-propiolactone. It is difficult to culture in vitro.

Parvovirus B19 is known to be linked to a number of illnesses, ranging from very mild and self-limiting to fatal. Some of these were not causally associated with the virus until recently, leading to an underestimation of its effects. I