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Complications of Fifth Disease

In fifth disease, the body stops producing red blood cells for a short time. This usually does not cause a problem for an otherwise normally healthy child or adult. But it can become a serious threat for people who have blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia. These people can develop transient aplastic crisis, a rapid worsening of existing anemia that usually lasts 7 to 10 days. People who have transient aplastic anemia can become very sick. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, rapid heart rate, and rapid breathing.

People who have impaired immune systems who become infected with fifth disease may develop a chronic parvovirus B19 infection that can lead to severe anemia.

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By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology
Last Revised March 2, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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