Fifth Dis­ease re­ported in CBN re­gion

How to know if you or your child con­tracts the vi­ral ill­ness

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

This is the time of year for colds and flus, but many par­ents likely don’t think about their child catch­ing some­thing else.

Par­ents from some Con­cep­tion Bay North com­mu­ni­ties have told The Com­pass this week that they have heard re­ports of Fifth Dis­ease at some lo­cal schools.

East­ern Health spokes­woman An­gela Greenslade told The Com­pass Fifth Dis­ease, or Ery­thema In­fec­tio­sum, is a highly con­ta­gious vi­ral ill­ness, but is common in chil­dren.

“There is no treat­ment for Fifth Dis­ease. This means that only symp­toms can be treated as the dis­ease runs its course,” she said.

Greenslade con­firmed there have been some re­ports from physi­cians and par­ents of chil­dren who are demon­strat­ing signs and symp­toms that coin­cide with Fifth Dis­ease — fever, headache, cold-like symp­toms and/or a skin rash with flat red spots, usu­ally be­gin­ning on the face and spread­ing down to the torso, arms and legs.

Ac­cord­ing to the Kids Health web­site (www.kid­shealth.org), the rash on the face of the in­fected per­son can re­sem­ble a “slapped cheek.”

Other symp­toms the web­site men­tions are “swollen glands, red eyes, sore throat, di­ar­rhea and rarely, rashes that look like blis­ters or bruises.” Joint swelling or pain may also be present, es­pe­cially in adults or older teens.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion in the United States, five per cent of preg­nant women who con­tract Fifth Dis­ease can have a mis­car­riage. It’s ad­vised for those women who are not im­mune — pre­vi­ously had the virus — to avoid any­one af­fected by it.

“Fifth Dis­ease usu­ally af­fects in­fants and chil­dren, but can some­times oc­cur in adults. It is trans­mit­ted through close con­tact with nose and throat dis­charges, saliva or the stool of an af­fected per­son,” Greenslade said.

Par­ents men­tioned two schools in the area where more chil­dren were out sick — Car­bon­ear Academy and All Hal­lows.

In a state­ment sup­plied to The Com­pass, New­found­land and Labrador English School Dis­trict de­nied those re­ports, but con­firmed it was aware of the Fifth Dis­ease is­sue.

“Nei­ther Car­bon­ear Academy nor All Hal­lows El­e­men­tary are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a height­ened level of ab­sen­teeism, though both schools are aware of the is­sue of Fifth Dis­ease. Dis­trict of­fi­cials have been in con­tact with East­ern Health and will cer­tainly co­op­er­ate with the health au­thor­ity should any fu­ture ac­tion be re­quired.”

Although there is no out­break, any child that comes in con­tact with an ex­posed per­son could con­tract it, even if there are no symp­toms.

“In­di­vid­u­als with Fifth Dis­ease are most con­ta­gious be­fore phys­i­cal symp­toms ap­pear,” Greenslade con­firmed.

There is no vac­ci­na­tion or treat­ment for Fifth Dis­ease, and it usu­ally lasts be­tween one and three weeks. Symp­toms, how­ever, can be treated.

If you be­lieve you or your child is demon­strat­ing Fifth Dis­ease symp­toms, you can con­tact the Health­line at 1-888-709-2929, or the pe­di­atric ad­vice line at 1866-722-1126.

For more in­for­ma­tion, you can con­tact your fam­ily doc­tor or visit the East­ern Health phone di­rec­tor at www.east­ern­health.ca.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

CODY’S ALL SMILES — Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary choir mem­ber Cody Earle is all smiles as he belts out an en­ter­tain­ing ren­di­tion of “Ru­dolph the RedNosed Rein­deer” dur­ing the open­ing of the Fes­ti­val of Lights at the Wil­bur Sparkes Recre­ation Com­plex in Bay Roberts on Nov. 26.

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