Erythema infectiosum

Last reviewed: 28 Apr 2022
Last updated: 24 Mar 2020

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • close contact with other infected individuals
  • bright red macular erythema of the bilateral cheeks with sparing of the nasal ridge and peri-oral areas
  • erythematous macules and papules evolving into lacy reticular erythema, most notable on the extremities
  • immunodeficiency
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • arthralgia/arthritis
  • prodrome (fever, headache, pharyngitis, coryza, abdominal pain)
  • symptoms of anaemia
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • close contact with other infected individuals
  • immunodeficiency
  • age 6 to 10 years
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • clinical diagnosis
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • FBC
  • reticulocyte count
  • serology
  • DNA assays
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

fever

secondary arthritis

ONGOING

persistent (>3 weeks) parvovirus B19 infection

Contributors

Authors

Kari L. Martin, MD

Associate Professor of Dermatology & Child Health

Pediatric Dermatology

University of Missouri - Columbia

Columbia

MO

Disclosures

KLM declares that she has no competing interests.

Acknowledgements

Dr Kari L. Martin would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Christine T. Lauren, Dr Jon Dyer, and Dr Jennifer Holman, the previous contributors to this topic. CTL, JD, and JH declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

Nevio Cimolai, MD

Professor

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia

Vancouver

Canada

Disclosures

NC declares that he has no competing interests.

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