Fifth Disease

Fifth DiseaseUntil this year, I had never heard of Fifth Disease. I'm sure most of the people reading this right now don't have a clue what Fifth Disease is. From the CDC website, "Fifth disease is a mild rash illness that occurs most commonly in children. The ill child typically has a "slapped-cheek" rash on the face and a lacy red rash on the trunk and limbs. Occasionally, the rash may itch. An ill child may have a low-grade fever, malaise, or a "cold" a few days before the rash breaks out. The child is usually not very ill, and the rash resolves in 7 to 10 days."

James got Fifth Disease but now he's fine. James isn't the concern. The concern is Mommy also got Fifth Disease. Mommy, of course, is carrying my Michelle.

The CDC maintains a special page regarding the effects of Fifth Disease on unborn babies when pregnant women come down with the illness. "Sometimes, however, parvovirus B19 infection will cause the unborn baby to have severe anemia and the woman may have a miscarriage. This occurs in less than 5% of all pregnant women who are infected with parvovirus B19 and occurs more commonly during the first half of pregnancy. There is no evidence that parvovirus B19 infection causes birth defects or mental retardation."

I'm not going to panic about anything that occurs less than 5% of the time, but the doctor is concerned enough that he wants frequent ultrasounds to ensure Michelle does not get anemia from this. I never heard of Fifth Disease before this year and now I'm wishing I was still in the dark.

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