What is roseola infantum?

Updated: Oct 09, 2020
  • Author: Christopher R Gorman, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Roseola is a common childhood disease. The cause is primary infection with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). The classic presentation of roseola infantum is a 9- to 12-month-old infant who acutely develops a high fever and often a febrile seizure. After 3 days, a rapid defervescence occurs, and a morbilliform rash appears (see the image below).

Roseola infantum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Comm Roseola infantum. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Like other herpes viruses, HHV-6 then remains latent in most patients who are immunocompetent. Although clinical disease is uncommon in patients who are immunocompetent, HHV-6 is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients who are immunosuppressed, particularly in patients with AIDS and in those who are transplant recipients (eg, liver transplantation [1, 2] ).

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