Dot writes: to do her justice, the doctor did offer one more specific suggestion as to what was wrong with Frank: if, when the fever had passed, a speckledy rash like measles should appear, then what he had was Roseola, also known as Sixth Disease. Although the rash has not been extensive or spectacular Frank did get one, so we now think that’s what he had. I’m also pretty sure this is what Hugh had that time I took him to Norfolk and he was so miserably ill in May 2009; he got a fairly impressive rash after the fever had passed.
Frank seems to be on the mend, though still fretful and lacking appetite. This gives me leisure to reflect on the name ‘Sixth Disease’. I remember Hugh having Fifth Disease, which is also known as Slapped-Cheek Syndrome because of the characteristic flushing of the cheeks. But what are the other four diseases? In Frank’s case they’ve all been colds.
Note: I looked at the wikipedia page for roseola purely to link to it, but as tends to happen when you look things up on the internet it has given rise to slightly alarming reflections. Frank’s fever was lower than expected for roseola, and much lower than expected for measles. But judging by the wikipedia description, in other respects his symptoms seem more like measles: a rash on the face as well as the trunk and neck; pink-rimmed eyes (cleared up now, though); some coughing (over the weekend). Hmmm. Children under 18 months are supposed to retain measles antibodies from their mothers, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had it myself. Fortunately Hugh has been vaccinated.