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January 12, 2002

School and Daycare, Sick Days

Question from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA:

I have learned that my 10 year old daughter, who has had type 1 diabetes for about seven months, may have been exposed to fifth disease, and have read that this virus can be a problem for people with weakened immune systems. Does fifth disease create problems in children with diabetes?


From: DTeam Staff

In general, otherwise healthy children with type 1 diabetes do not have the “suppressed immune system” seen in older, more frail folks. Certain infections, in some children with diabetes who are otherwise in good health, can be a bit more prevalent –like fungal infections that typically occur in the mouth, diaper region (in infants), vagina (more mature girls), athlete’s foot, and nails.

Some viruses (called enteroviruses) have been associated with development of type 1 diabetes, but not necessarily as a “cause-and-effect.” So in very broad terms, I would not expect your daughter to have chronic diabetes-related issues following this exposure/infection with fifth disease.


[Editor’s comment: Of course, any illness can wreak havoc with blood glucose control in a child with diabetes, so it is important to monitor blood sugars closely and institute appropriate sick day management as needed.