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February 1989

The Rash of Roses

Author Affiliations

Division of Infectious Diseases Box 689 University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry 601 Elmwood Ave Rochester, NY 14642

Arch Dermatol. 1989;125(2):196-198. doi:10.1001/archderm.1989.01670140048005

Roseala is one of the most frequent and interesting afflictions of the young, which, for decades, has plagued and frustrated parents and physicians alike. It is distinctive in its ability to appear abruptly, but sporadically, producing torrid temperatures and temperaments in tots. Strikingly few physical or laboratory findings suggest the source of the fever. Then suddenly the fiery fever abates and the rash of roses blooms—though transiently. The culprit causing this curious clinical complex has consistently escaped the technically evolving net of science—until now. The decades of recognition and interest in this piquant ailment are exemplified by the variety of colorful sobriquets it has acquired: exanthem subitum to describe the "surprise" of the concerned adults when the rash suddenly appears subsequent to the crisis fall of fever, roseola infantilis, pseudorubella, exanthem criticum, sixth disease, Zahorsky's disease, and the rose rash of infants. Roseola is even believed to exist without its

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