Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or medication that prevents fifth disease. However, approximately 50-60% of adults are immune to Parvovirus B19 (fifth disease). This is due to the fact that most adults were infected as children. However, if you have not had the disease before and you contract fifth disease when pregnant, there is a 33% chance of fetal infection. If you are unsure what your fifth disease status is, it is a good idea to ask your doctor for a blood test. This blood test can tell you the following:
1. You had this infection before and cannot get infected again (immune).
2. You have not had this infection before and are at risk of infection. For example, exposure to school children or patients.
3. You currently have the infection.
If you have not already had this infection and are at risk of contracting the disease when pregnant, there are a number of measures to adopt that may decrease the risk:
1. Avoid individuals who are infected.
2. If you work in a childcare environment remain vigilant to the signs and symptoms of fifth disease.
3. Wash hands frequently.
4. Avoid schools, day care centers or hospitals during a known outbreak of fifth disease.
If your blood test reveals that you have contracted fifth disease, your physician will monitor your pregnancy more closely. This is outlined in more detail in the diagnosis & treatment section of this website.