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School Health Reference Guide


The Region of Peel School Health Reference Guide is a supplementary resource to relevant Peel and Dufferin-Peel school board policies. Refer to school board policy first if you have questions or concerns.

Childhood Diseases and Illnesses

Fifth Disease (erythema infectiosum)
  • Caused by a virus (parvovirus B19).
  • Mild rash illness that occurs most commonly in children. The ill child typically has a "slapped-cheek" rash on the face and a lacy red rash on the trunk and limbs. Occasionally, the rash may itch.
  • Rash may be more pronounced during exercise, stress, or environmental changes (e.g. temperature and exposure to sunlight).
  • An ill child may have a low grade fever, tiredness or cold like symptoms a few days before the rash breaks out.
  • The child is usually not very ill, and the rash resolves in seven to 10 days.
  • Found in respiratory secretion (e.g., saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) of infected persons before the onset of rash, when they appear to "just have a cold."
  • Spread probably from person to person by direct contact with those secretions, such as sharing drinking cups. A person infected with parvovirus B19 is contagious during the early part of the illness, before the rash appears.
  • During school outbreaks, 10 to 60 per cent of students may get fifth disease.
  • There is no vaccine for parvovirus B19.
Instructions for Schools
  • Does not need to be reported to Peel Public Health.
  • Child may attend school if feeling well enough to take part in activities since by the time she/he has the characteristic “slapped cheek” rash, the child is probably no longer contagious.
  • Exclusion is not necessary as this does not control further spread of the outbreak.
  • Pregnant personnel should be advised to contact their physician in making their decision to work when an outbreak occurs.
  • Peel Public Health does not recommend that staff be excluded.
  • Encourage thorough hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
  • By adulthood 50 to 80 per cent of people previously infected with parvovirus B19, has developed immunity to the virus, and cannot get fifth disease again if re-exposed.

Peel Public Health is not responsible for the content of the linked websites and the information presented there.

For more information on communicable disease resources and programs,
call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.(In Caledon, call 905-584-2216.)


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Revised: Thursday January 07 2016