Medical Q&As

Roseola - another name for it?

I am living in the USA and my friend's baby has been diagnosed with Roseola. I have never heard of this condition and wonder if we refer to it by another name in Ireland?

Roseola is known by various names including roseola infantum, exanthematous fever, three-day-rash, exanthema subitum and sixth disease. It is a viral infection and I suspect that most cases of this infection are not brought to the attention of the medical profession because it is frequently mild and runs a short course. Many of the mild cases of so-called “heat rash” are probably roseola. It is caused by two subtypes of herpes virus and I hasten to add that these viruses are different to the herpes viruses that cause sexually transmitted disease. The infection is spread by droplet just like most other common upper respiratory pathogens. Roseola tends to occur in children between the ages of six months and three years. The essential features of the condition are fever and a rash. The rash consists of pink or red raised spots that spread from the trunk onto the neck, face and limbs. The rash tends to fade within one to three days of onset. Most cases resolve without complications and are usually managed by simple symptomatic treatment such as liquid paracetamol and ensuring an adequate fluid intake. Some infants with roseola may develop febrile convulsions especially if the body temperature is very high. Most children recover fully within a week and immunity to the disease thereafter is usually life-long.