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Alternative Names
exanthema subitum, psuedorubella

Roseola is the sudden appearance of a red rash. It occurs after a fever in an otherwise healthy infant that is between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old.

What is going on in the body?
The herpes virus types 6 and 7 cause this condition. These are not the same herpes viruses as the herpes viruses that cause cold sores (type 1) and genital herpes (type 2).

What are the signs and symptoms of the infection?
The rash is preceded by a high fever. The fever remains consistently high until the fourth day. The fever goes away at about the same time that the rash appears. The rash consists of many red spots and bumps. These spots and bumps are located primarily on the trunk and neck. Sometimes the arms and legs are affected, as well. The child may also have convulsions as a result of the high fever. Other symptoms include a mild sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?
Roseola is caused by herpes virus types 6 and 7.

What can be done to prevent the infection?
There is nothing that can be done to prevent this viral infection.

How is the infection diagnosed?
Diagnosis is made during a clinical physical examination by a doctor.

What are the long-term effects of the infection?
There are no long-term effects associated with this illness.

What are the risks to others?
This illness can be passed to other infants who have not already been exposed to the virus.

What are the treatments for the infection?
Treatment for roseola entails measures to ease the symptoms. This includes medication to reduce fever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

What are the side effects of the treatments?
There are no side effects from treatment other than those of the medication that may be used, e.g. paracetamol.

How is the infection monitored?
The fever must be monitored and treated appropriately.

Author: Lynn West, MD
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


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