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exanthem subitum

infectious disease of early childhood marked by rapidly developing high fever (to 106 F) lasting about three days and then subsiding completely. A few hours after the temperature returns to normal, a mildly itchy rash develops suddenly on the trunk, neck, and behind the ears but fades rapidly after two days. The disease appears to be caused by a filterable virus and is especially contagious. Treatment is to relieve symptoms. Roseola infantum is distinguished from measles by the height and duration of fever preceding the appearance of the rash.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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