Several students at local elementary school develop 'fifth disease'

Students at local elementary school develop 'Fifth disease,' officials warn

ALLEGHENY CO., Pa. — Several students at a local elementary school have developed an illness that causes rashes on their faces.

A letter sent Wednesday from the principal at Logan Elementary School said multiple second graders have what is called "fifth disease."

The illness is common, according to the CDC, but still many people have never heard of it.

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Symptoms of fifth disease, also known as parvovirus B-19, include the following:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Facial rash (described as "slapped cheek" red rash)
  • Joint pain/swelling can also develop

In rare cases, the CDC said pregnant women can have a miscarriage or pass the illness to their baby, resulting in severe anemia.

There is no vaccine or medication to prevent fifth disease. The CDC said symptoms usually go away on their own, but since the illness is passed through respiratory secretions – such as saliva and mucous – the best way to protect yourself and your kids is to do the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick

For more information on the disease, click here.