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Roseola
Roseola


Temperature measurement
Temperature measurement


Roseola

Definition:

Roseola is an acute disease of infants and young children in which a high fever and skin rash occur.



Alternative Names:

Exanthem subitum; Sixth disease



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The disease is common in children ages 3 months to 4 years, and most common in those ages 6 months to 1 year. It is caused by a virus called human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), although similar syndromes are possible with other viruses.

Roseola occurs throughout the year. The time between becoming infected and the beginning of symptoms (incubation period) is 5 to 15 days.



Symptoms:

The child may have a runny nose, sore throat, and eye redness.

A fever usually occurs before the rash appears. It lasts for 3 (sometimes up to 7) days. The fever may be as high as 105° Fahrenheit, and it generally responds well to acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Between the second and fourth day of the illness, the fever drops and a rash appears (often as the fever falls).

  • The rash starts on the trunk and spreads to the limbs, neck, and face. The rash is pink or rose-colored, and has fairly small sores that are slightly raised.
  • The rash lasts from a few hours to 2 - 3 days. It usually does not itch.

Other symptoms include:



Signs and tests:
  • Physical exam of rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck (cervical nodes) or back of the scalp (occipital nodes)


Treatment:

There is no specific treatment. The disease usually gets better without complications.

Take steps to control a fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol) and cool sponge baths. If convulsions occur, call your health care provider, or go to the closest emergency room.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Most children with roseola fully recover.



Complications:

Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if your child:

  • Has a fever that does not go down with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) and a warm bath
  • Continues to appear very sick
  • Acts irritable or lethargic

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if your child has convulsions .



Prevention:

The viruses that cause roseola are spread either through fecal-oral contact or via airborne droplets. Careful handwashing can help prevent the spread of these viruses.



References:

Leach CT. Roseola (human herpesviruses 6 and 7). In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 253.




Review Date: 11/2/2009
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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