Roseola is a childhood viral infection also known as Exanthum Subitum or 6th disease. Roseola is self limiting in other words, it that goes away in its own. The Roseola virus tends to cause infections in children less than 2 years of age. This infection is rare in children less than 3 months or older than 4 years of age.
Typically it causes fever with a bit of irritability and no other obvious symptoms. The fever characteristically lasts for up to 3 to 4 days and then goes away on its own. At the same time a rash (usually on the whole body) comes out. The Roseola rash usually lasts another few days, but without fever. This is the distinguishing feature of Roseola: the rash appears only after the fever breaks. This pattern in the history is very typical for Roseola. There are, of course, other viruses that cause fever and rash, but none of them first presents with fever only and then a rash once the fever subsides. Most of the other viral infections feature rash and fever both occurring at the same time.
How is Roseola spread?
The Roseola virus is thought to be spread, as other viruses, through respiratory secretions. The incubation period, or the time between exposure to the virus and actually developing symptoms, is between 5 to 14 days. Most cases of Roseola occur during the spring, summer and fall periods. Once a child gets Roseola this infection does not recur or come back.
Is there a specific treatment?
There is no specific treatment, except for fever medication(Acetaminophen) as needed. Remember that Aspirin or ASA should never be used in children. Additionally, no special precautions or control measures are necessary for children or adults who have come into in contact with someone with Roseola.
Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.