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Question:

From San Ramon, California, USA:

My daughter (7 years old, type 1: diagnosed 2 years ago) may have been exposed to "fifth disease." Being she has an "autoimmune" disease, is she at a greater risk for complications if she comes down with this viral infection? If so, do you have any information on what to do to lessen the chances of any complications?

Answer:

Fifth disease (also known as slapped cheek disease or erythema infectiosum) is a benign infection caused by parvovirus. It is totally unrelated to diabetes. I think you misunderstand the term autoimmune. This relates to the phenomenon of the immune system attacking self (in diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreatic islets). This is a very specific action and doesn't affect general immunity at all. In other words, your daughter is not at any higher risk of picking up infections than anyone else. If she's been exposed to the virus then there is nothing you can do but wait to see if she will develop symptoms - the incubation period is about a week. Complications are very unusual.

KJR

Original posting 12 Jun 1998
Posted to Other Illnesses

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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