Childhood disease – The sixth disease

Spot diseases are common in children. One is more dangerous than the other. The sixth disease is a harmless spot variant. It mainly affects young children and is not a life-threatening condition. However, there are spot diseases that can have a serious disease course. For that reason it is important that you can recognize the sixth disease. This way you can rule out other diseases and give the patient the care he needs.

Article content

In this article you will find information about the sixth disease:

  • General information
  • Pathogen
  • Way of infection
  • Incubation period
  • Disease symptoms
  • Disease progression
  • Complications
  • Treatment/care
  • Report to the GGD?


The sixth disease

The sixth disease is number 6 in the list of spotted diseases discovered. It got its name from this reason. Because the disease causes a high fever for approximately 3 days, it is also called the three-day fever.Mainly children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years are affected by the virus. Despite the high fever and rash, it is a relatively harmless disease. Pregnant women, unborn babies and newborns will also not be harmed by the disease.


The sixth disease is caused by herpes virus type 6. Unlike many of the herpes variants, this virus occurs once. A child cannot get it again, while this is the case with, for example, a cold sore (also caused by a herpes virus).

Way of infection

The herpus virus type 6 spreads through droplets in the respiratory tract of children. A child transmits it by talking, coughing, sneezing, kissing, biting, etc.The disease is contagious before it breaks out. It is unknown until when the child can transmit the disease. To be on the safe side, it is said that a child is no longer contagious when the fever has subsided and the spots have disappeared.

Incubation period

Incubation period is the time between infection and outbreak of the disease. The incubation period of sixth disease is 5 to 15 days.

Disease symptoms

  • High fever (39 – 40.5 degrees)
  • Enlarged glands in the neck and behind the ears
  • Earache
  • Cough
  • Busy behavior
  • Irritable
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Abrupt end of fever
  • Rash of small red spots on the head, neck and torso.


Course of the disease

When a child is infected with the sixth disease, he suddenly develops a high fever (39 to 40.5 degrees). The glands in the neck and behind the ears may swell and the child may experience a mild upper respiratory infection. The patient is also somewhat busy and irritable in behavior. After about 4 days the fever subsides abruptly. At the same time, a rash appears on the head and behind the ears. These are small light red spots. They prepare themselves towards the hull.


There are no known complications related to sixth disease.


There is no specific curative treatment for sixth disease. The child will have to fight it out. You can take some measures to make the course of the illness as pleasant as possible.

  • Dress the child in light, loose clothing so that he or she can lose the heat from the fever.
  • Let the child sleep under a sheet so that he or she can lose the heat from the fever. If the child suffers from chills, you can temporarily cover him or her with a blanket.
  • Make sure the child drinks enough.
  • You can possibly give paracetamol to reduce the temperature.


Notify the doctor if:

  • Febrile attacks
  • Drowsiness or irritability
  • Rash accompanied by fever


Report to the GGD?

If 2 children have the sixth disease among its members within 2 weeks, an organization (childcare center, school, etc.) is obliged to report this to the GGD.

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