Roseola infantum

Roseola infantum

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Alternative Names: Exanthema subitum, Dukes disease, fourth disease, sixth disease, pseudorubella, roseola infantilis, baby measles or Tigdas Hangin.

Roseola infantum is a mild viral disease affecting infants and young children. It typically affects children aged six months to two years. It is rare after the age of two. Up to 95% of children have been shown to be infected with the virus by the age of two, but only about one-third of these children will present with the rash of roseola.

It is caused by human HHV-6 (herpes virus type 6), less commonly, HHV-7 and is spread from person to person by droplets from the nose or mouth travelling through the air or by direct contact. The incubation period is 9-10 days and it is most infectious when the rash appears. The risk to the child increases with exposure to a day care centre or to public places.

Additional modes of transmission may be possible, including intrauterine or perinatal transmission. The HHV-6 genome has been found in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of `otherwise healthy newborns and in the cervical secretions of pregnant women. Breast feeding, however, does not appear to be a major route of transmission to infants.

Roseola is most contagious (passed from one person to another) before the rash appears and when your child has a fever. Keep your child home from day care or school until the fever is gone and your child is feeling better.


General symptoms may include:

    Fever, sometimes very high.

  • Runny nose.

  • Irritability.

  • Drowsiness.

  • Swelling of lymph glands of the neck.

  • Bright red, spotted rash mainly confined to the trunk and arms.It usually sparse on the face and legs.

Complications may include:

    Sometimes, roseola can lead to ear infections.

  • The major problem is the possibility of febrile convulsions, as the child's temperature mayrise very quickly. Febrile convulsions are convulsions (fits) triggered by fever. They rarelycause any ongoing problems.


The rash can misdiagnosewith measles or rubella.

Precise laboratory diagnosis of primary HHV-6infection remains difficult, generally requiring researchlaboratory techniques. Although a number of serologicalassays are available, including enzyme immunoassay,indirect immunofluorescent, anti-complementimmunofluorescence, competitive radioimmune andneutralization assays. Diagnosis can be confirmed by culture, PCR, or serologic tests.


Treatment Options:

    There is no known treatment for this virus. Treatment is generally symptomatic. The main thing to keep in mind is that this virus can cause high fevers. Until the fever drops, you can help keep your child cool using a sponge or towel soaked in lukewarm water. Do not use ice, cold water, alcohol rubs, fans or cold baths. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help to reduce your child's fever. Risk and benefits must be discussed with your primary care physician.

  • Offer the child lots of water and drinks.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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