Fifth Disease Discovered in Southington Middle School

School officials said in a letter sent home to parents and notified teachers Sunday that two cases have been discovered at Kennedy Middle School.

Southington schools over the weekend notified teachers and staff and on Monday sent home a letter to parents after two cases of Fifth Disease were discovered at Kennedy Middle School.

The disease, which is not considered a serious threat, is common and is of most concern to those staff members who are pregnant and may be exposed to the disease for any extended period of time, School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. told the Record-Journal on Monday afternoon:

"It's prevalant all the time," Erardi said. "The only concern is for any pregnant staff members."

Fifth Disease is a relatively common viral disease in youth, showing up most frequently in those ages 5 to 15, according to KidsHealth.org.

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According to the website, it "usually produces a distinctive red rash on the face that makes a child appear to have a 'slapped cheek.' The rash then spreads to the trunk, arms, and legs."

School officials said Monday that the biggest concern is for pregnant staff members and have recommended they talk to their doctor about it as a precaution.

KidsHealth.org provided the following information regarding Fifth Disease:

Fifth disease is actually just a viral illness that most kids recover from quickly and without complications.

Fifth disease (also called erythema infectiosum) is caused by parvovirus B19. A human virus, parvovirus B19 is not the same parvovirus that veterinarians may be concerned about in pets, especially dogs, and it cannot be passed from humans to animals or vice versa.

Studies show that although 40% to 60% of adults worldwide have laboratory evidence of a past parvovirus B19 infection, most can't remember having had symptoms of fifth disease. This leads medical experts to believe that most people with a B19 infection have either very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Fifth disease occurs everywhere in the world. Outbreaks tend to happen in the late winter and early spring, but there can be sporadic cases of the disease throughout the year.

School officials indicated that they do not see this as a threat or epidemic.

For more on Fifth Disease, click the link provided.

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