Curr Opin Infect Dis 2001 Jun;14(3):343-56
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.
Fifth (erythema infectiosum) and sixth (roseola infantum) diseases are common rash illnesses of childhood that have long been recognized in clinical medicine.
The discovery of the viruses that cause these illnesses has revealed relationships with other syndromes.
Primary infection with the agent of erythema infectiosum, human parvovirus B19, is associated with transient aplastic crisis in hemolytic anemia, arthropathy in adults, chronic anemia in immunocompromised patients, and nonimmune fetal hydrops in pregnant women.
The only documented illness associated with primary infection with human herpesvirus 6 is roseola or exanthema subitum in young children.
However, reactivated infections in adults and immunocompromised patients may be associated with serious illness such as encephalitis/encephalopathy, and bone marrow suppression leading to transplant failure or graft-versus-host disease.
Diagnostic studies for both viruses have been limited, although reliable serologic tests for human parvovirus B19 have recently become available.
Diagnosis of human herpesvirus 6 remains problematic, because current tests cannot differentiate primary from reactivated disease.
This is more of an issue for the putative relationship of these viruses to more chronic conditions, such as rheumatologic disease for human parvovirus B19 and multiple sclerosis for human herpesvirus 6.
The relationship between the viruses and these conditions remains controversial, and better diagnostic tests and further information on viral pathogenesis for both viruses are required in order to make a reliable judgment in this regard.