Roseola is a common rash illness of children ages 6
months to 2 years. The majority of cases are caused
by Human herpesvirus-6B. Cases occur sporadically
throughout the year and occasionally outbreaks do
Who gets roseola?
Most commonly, the disease occurs in children
between the ages of 6 months and 2 years of age.
Infection in children less than 3 months or children
over 4 years of age is uncommon.
How is the virus spread?
It is not fully known how the virus is spread, but
research suggests that contact with the saliva of an
infected individual may be the most likely source of
What are the symptoms and when do they
A fever, sometimes as high as 106F, appears
suddenly and lasts 3-5 days.
Irritability, malaise and
runny nose may be present at this time.
A red throat with small lesions on the palate and tonsils and
swollen lymph glands may be the only other
Children with roseola often
have swollen eyelids giving them a “sleepy” appearance.
The rash phase of roseola generally
follows the disappearance of the fever.
The rash is
described as pale rose-pink spots and surrounded by
a white halo.
It starts on the trunk and later
spreading to the neck, extremities and face lasting 24
to 48 hours.
Symptoms usually last 5-7 days.
How is it diagnosed?
In most cases, the disease is diagnosed based on the
appearance of the fever followed by a rash as
described above. Blood testing is available for both
virus and antibody detection.
When and for how long is a person able to
spread the disease?
The period of communicability is unknown.
Does past infection with the virus make a
Second cases of roseola are rare.
What is the treatment?
At this time there is no specific treatment.
What are the complications associated with
Symptoms are generally mild and most children are
alert and playful despite high fever. Seizures occur
in approximately 10% of cases having high fever.
What can be done to prevent the spread of
There is no vaccine available for roseola. Measures to
effectively control roseola have not been developed.
Generally speaking, children with fever or rash
illness with fever should not return to a childcare
setting or a preschool setting until their rash is gone
and they are well.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.