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Synonyms exanthema subitum, roseola infantum, rose rash of infants, sixth disease, baby measles, three-day fever
Roseola on a 21-month-old girl.jpg
Roseola on a 21-month-old girl
Classification and external resources
Specialty Infectious disease
ICD-10 B08.2
ICD-9-CM 057.8
DiseasesDB 5857
MedlinePlus 000968
eMedicine emerg/400 derm/378 ped/998
MeSH D005077

Roseola is a disease of children, generally under two years old.[1] Although it has been known to occur in eighteen-year-olds, whose manifestations are usually limited to a transient rash ("exanthem") that occurs following a fever of about three days' duration.

It is caused by two human herpesviruses, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7), which are sometimes referred to collectively as Roseolovirus. There are two variants of HHV-6 (HHV-6a and HHV-6b) and studies in the US, Europe, Dubai and Japan have shown that exanthema subitum is caused by HHV-6b. Research has shown that babies can be congenitally infected with HHV-6 via vertical transmission.[2]

Roseola occurs in 1% of children in the United States.[3][4]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Typically the disease affects a child between six months and two years of age, and begins with a sudden high fever (39–40 °C; 102.2-104 °F). This can cause, in rare cases, febrile convulsions (also known as febrile seizures or "fever fits") due to the sudden rise in body temperature, but in many cases the child appears normal. After a few days the fever subsides, and just as the child appears to be recovering, a red rash appears. This usually begins on the trunk, spreading to the legs and neck. The rash is not itchy and may last 1 to 2 days.[5] In contrast, a child suffering from measles would usually appear more infirm, with symptoms of conjunctivitis, coryza, and a cough, and their rash would affect the face and last for several days. Liver dysfunction can occur in rare cases.

A small percentage of children acquire HHV-6 with few sign or symptoms of the disease. Exanthema subitum occurs in approximately 30% of children during primary HHV-6 infection.[6] Others may show symptoms significant enough that other more serious infections, such as meningitis or measles should be ruled out. In case of febrile seizures, medical advice can be sought for reassurance. However, febrile seizures are not harmful, do not require treatment, and have no long term negative effects unless they last longer than five minutes.

In rare cases, HHV-6 can become active in an adult previously infected during childhood and can show signs of mononucleosis.[7]


Electron micrograph of HHV-6

It is caused by two human herpesviruses, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7), which are sometimes referred to collectively as Roseolovirus. There are two variants of HHV-6 (HHV-6a and HHV-6b) and studies in the US, Europe, Dubai and Japan have shown that exanthema subitum is caused by HHV-6b. This form of HHV-6 infects over 90% of infants by age 2.


There is no specific vaccine against or treatment for exanthema subitum, and most children with the disease are not seriously ill.


For HHV-6 infection, no pharmacological treatments have been approved as of June 2012. Although they may be unnecessary for exanthema subitum, the use of cytomegalovirus treatments (valganciclovir, ganciclovir,[8] cidofovir, and foscarnet) have shown some success.[3]


Country Local name (language) Translated name
Belgium Driedagenkoorts (Dutch)
Zesde ziekte (Dutch)
Roséole (French)
"three-day fever"
"sixth disease"
China (PRC) 急疹 (Mandarin) jí zhěn (pinyin) "fast rash"
Japan 突発性発疹 (Japanese) toppatsuseihosshin "fast/sudden rash"
Korea (South) 돌발진 (Korean) Dolbalpijin "fast/sudden rash"
Czech republic Šestá nemoc (Czech) "sixth disease"
Finland Vauvarokko (Finnish) "baby measles"
France Roséole "Roseola"
Germany Drei-Tage-Fieber (German) "three-day fever"
Greece Αιφνίδιο εξάνθημα (Greek) "sudden rash"
Hungary Háromnapos láz (Hungarian)
Hatodik betegség (Hungarian)
"three-day fever"
"sixth disease"
Iceland Mislingabróðir (Icelandic) "measles' brother"
Italy Sesta malattia (Italian) "sixth disease"
Malaysia Campak halus (Malay) "small/tiny measles"
Netherlands Zesde ziekte (Dutch) "sixth disease"
Norway Fjerde barnesykdom (Norwegian)[9] "fourth disease"
Philippines Tigdas Hangin (Tagalog) "wind measles"
Poland Gorączka trzydniowa (Polish) "three-day fever"
Russia Краснуха (Russian) "red rash"
Singapore Jiǎ má 假麻 (Chinese) "false measles"
Slovakia Šiesta (detská) choroba (Slovak) "sixth disease"
Slovenia Šesta bolezen (Slovenian) "sixth disease"
Sweden Tredagarsfeber
Sjätte sjukan (Swedish)
"three-day fever"
Sixth disease
Taiwan Méiguī zhěn 玫瑰疹 (Chinese) "rose rash"
Turkey Altıncı hastalık (Turkish) "sixth disease"
Israel Tifrachat vrooda תפרחת ורודה(Hebrew) "rose/pink rash"
Vietnam Sốt phát ban (Vietnamese) "baby rash"


  1. ^ Zerr DM, Meier AS, Selke SS, et al. (February 2005). "A population-based study of primary human herpesvirus 6 infection". N. Engl. J. Med. 352 (8): 768–76. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa042207. PMID 15728809. 
  2. ^ Universal childhood virus is inherited in DNA,
  3. ^ a b Flamand, L.; Komaroff, A. L.; Arbuckle, J. H.; Medveczky, P. G.; Ablashi, D. V. (2010). "Review, part 1: Human herpesvirus-6-basic biology, diagnostic testing, and antiviral efficacy". Journal of Medical Virology. 82 (9): 1560–1568. doi:10.1002/jmv.21839. PMID 20648610. 
  4. ^ Araujo, A.; Pagnier, A.; Frange, P.; Wroblewski, I.; Stasia, M. -J.; Morand, P.; Plantaz, D. (2011). "Syndrome d'activation lymphohistiocytaire associé à une infection à Burkholderia cepacia complex chez un nourrisson révélant une granulomatose septique et une intégration génomique du virus HHV-6". Archives de Pédiatrie. 18 (4): 416–419. doi:10.1016/j.arcped.2011.01.006. PMID 21397473. 
  5. ^ Roseola – Topic Overview,
  6. ^ Zerr, D. M.; Meier, A. S.; Selke, S. S.; Frenkel, L. M.; Huang, M. L.; Wald, A.; Rhoads, M. P.; Nguy, L.; Bornemann, R.; Morrow, R. A.; Corey, L. (2005). "A Population-Based Study of Primary Human Herpesvirus 6 Infection". New England Journal of Medicine. 352 (8): 768–776. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa042207. PMID 15728809. 
  7. ^ Stoeckle MY (2000). "The spectrum of human herpesvirus 6 infection: from roseola infantum to adult disease". Annu. Rev. Med. 51: 423–30. doi:10.1146/ PMID 10774474. 
  8. ^ Nakano, K.; Nishinaka, K.; Tanaka, T.; Ohshima, A.; Sugimoto, N.; Isegawa, Y. (2009). "Detection and identification of U69 gene mutations encoded by ganciclovir-resistant human herpesvirus 6 using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography". Journal of Virological Methods. 161 (2): 223–230. doi:10.1016/j.jviromet.2009.06.016. PMID 19559728. 
  9. ^ Nylander, Gro (2009) "Lille venn, hva nå?"

External links[edit]