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October 25, 1985


JAMA. 1985;254(16):2262-2264. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360160094019

The recognition of "new" medical syndromes may be important precisely because they are not new. Instead, they permit reclassification of patients heretofore diagnosed as displaying one of the "old" syndromes. Three "new" rheumatologic conditions will be discussed briefly.

Studies in the United Kingdom have defined a symmetrical polyarthritis of sudden onset and moderate severity associated with parvovirus infection.1,2 Parvovirus has been identified recently as the etiologic agent of erythema infectiosum (fifth disease). This condition generally occurs in epidemics, affecting infants and children with an evanescent rash that characteristically produces a "slapped face" appearance. The arthritic syndrome is much more common in adults, especially women aged 10 to 58 years (mean, early 30s); an erythematous rash has been present in 30% to 50% of these cases, but rarely resembled a slapped face. Swelling and pain in one or more of the following may occur: small hand joints, wrists, elbows, shoulders,