What causes roseola?

Deborah Mulligan
Deborah Mulligan on behalf of MDLIVE
Roseola is also known as sixth disease because it is one of seven viral illnesses causing a rash similar in appearance.  Sometimes it is referred to as exanthem subitum or roseola infantum.  It is marked by several days of high fever, followed by a distinctive rash just as the fever breaks. Roseola is a viral illness in young kids, most commonly affecting those between 6 months and 2 years old.

Two common and closely related viruses can cause roseola: human herpes virus (HHV) type 6 and possibly type 7. These viruses belong to the same family as the better-known herpes simplex viruses (HSV), but HHV-6 and HHV-7 do not cause the cold sores and genital herpes infections that HSV can cause.

Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.