Medical treatments for complications of fifth disease

Pregnant women and people who have impaired immune systems or blood disorders are at risk for developing complications from fifth disease.

Treatment for pregnant women

In very rare cases, a fetus that becomes infected with parvovirus B19 may develop severe anemia and swelling, a condition called fetal hydrops. The mother and fetus should be closely monitored with fetal ultrasounds to detect this condition.

When fetal hydrops is detected, the fetus may be treated with blood transfusions while in the uterus, although this is not usually necessary.

Some babies born to mothers who were infected with fifth disease during pregnancy may also be treated with blood transfusions.

Treatment for people who have blood or immune disorders

People who have blood disorders that cause anemia (such as sickle cell disease or thalassemia) may require blood transfusions if a rapid worsening of existing anemia (called transient aplastic anemia) develops.

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) may be given to people who have impaired immune systems to prevent a chronic parvovirus B19 infection and severe anemia.

Last Updated: March 3, 2009

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