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Joint pain: Rheumatoid arthritis or parvovirus?

Yes. Joint pain can be caused by viral infections. Parvovirus is a virus that causes several illnesses, including fifth disease — a common childhood ailment known for causing a red rash on the face. In adults, the most prominent symptom of fifth disease is joint soreness, typically in the hands, wrists, knees and ankles.

Fifth disease should be considered as a possible cause of joint pain in adults who have recently noticed pain and swelling in multiple joints, especially if the symptoms started after exposure to a child with the illness.

Joint pain caused by parvovirus infection may last from weeks to months. However, the pain usually goes away without any long-term problems.

Last updated: December 17th, 2014

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