What is the general prognosis of roseola infantum?

Updated: Oct 09, 2020
  • Author: Christopher R Gorman, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Practically all patients who are immunocompetent survive roseola infantum without sequelae. In patients who are immunosuppressed, multisystem complications are not unusual. Infection may be chronic, leading to viral progression and death.

Primary infection with HHV-6 may be asymptomatic, or it may cause the exanthem subitum/roseola syndrome. [8] Within that complex, otitis, gastroenteritis, respiratory distress, and seizures may occur. Primary infection in infants is rarely complicated by serious disease and is very rarely fatal. Case reports of many organ systems being involved indicate a potential morbidity, although this is rarely observed.

The second stage of HHV-6 infection occurs in healthy children and adults. The virus replicates in the salivary glands and is latent in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A form of latent infection is found in the integration of the virus in host chromosomes. In adults who are immunocompetent, infection or reactivation of HHV-6 is rare. These few patients have been reported to have lymphadenopathy, hepatitis, and a mononucleosislike syndrome.

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