Exanthema Subitum Roseola

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Roseola is a bodywide infection caused by a herpes virus.

What is going on in the body?

Roseola is an infection caused by the human herpes virus 6, HHV6,andpossibly HHV7. These are not the same herpes viruses that cause cold sores orgenital herpes.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Roseola is a herpes virus infection. It is usually seen inchildren between the ages of 6 months and 2 years.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the infection?

The first symptom of roseola is a fever, which can go up to103 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, or 39.4 to 41.2 Celsius. The fever remainsconsistently high until the fourthday. The child may be listless and irritable. The fever goes away at about the same time that a rashappears. The rash usually starts on the trunk and may move to the neck, arms,and legs. There are usually a number of red spots and bumps that do notitch.

Other symptoms of roseola include the following:

  • bulging of the fontanel, or soft spot, in the head of an infant
  • cough
  • mild diarrhea
  • mild sore throat
  • puffy eyelids
  • runny nose
  • swollen glands inthe neck
  • The child may also have febrile seizures, or convulsion due to fever.

    Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the infection diagnosed?

    Diagnosis of roseola begins with a medical history and physicalexam. Blood tests are not usually ordered but are available.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the infection?

    Some cases of roseola may be avoided by staying away from infectedindividuals.

    What are the long-term effects of the infection?

    Most of the time, roseola clears up on its own without anylong-term effects. Rarely, it can lead to a more serious infection, including:

  • encephalitis, orinfection of the brain
  • hepatitis, an infectionof the liver
  • meningitis, orinfection of the brain and spinal cord linings
  • What are the risks to others?

    Roseola can be passed to other children who have not already been exposed tothe virus. No one knows for sure how roseola is spread from child to child.Experts believe it is probably transmitted in secretions from the nose andmouth.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the infection?

    Since roseola is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective.Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used to reduce fever.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Acetaminophen and ibuprofen may cause stomach upset or allergic reactions.

    What happens after treatment for the infection?

    After the roseola runs its course, the child can return to normalactivities.

    How is the infection monitored?

    Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcareprovider.

    Article type: xmedgeneral