Posted: Aug 13, 2012 4:44 PM by DHH Press Release
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a common illness of infants and children usually caused by a coxsackievirus, however other viruses may also be involved.
Coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) is the most common cause of HFMD. Usually there are no complications of HFMD caused by CA16 infection, although aseptic or viral meningitis may occur occasionally.
Group A coxsackievirus 10 (CA10).
Enterovirus 71(EV71). In addition to HFMD, EV71 may also cause aseptic or viral meningitis, encephalitis, or a polio-like paralysis. EV71 meningitis or encephalitis may, on rare occasions, be fatal.
The infection occurs mainly in children under 10 years old and mostly in the summer and early fall.
Transmission: The virus is found in the nose and throat discharges during the acute stage of illness and in
the feces for several weeks. Aerosol spread is limited to patients with acute respiratory symptoms (due to
intercurrent infections). Fecal oral transmission may last for a long time.
Sources of infection are symptomatic patients and asymptomatic infected individuals as well.
No animals are involved, this disease is totally different from foot and mouth disease of cattle.
The incubation periodis 3 to 6 days
After a sudden onset the patient has mild fever, a sore throat and discrete papulo vesicular lesions on the
tonsils, the buccal surface of the cheeks, the gums and the side of the tongue. Similar lesions appear on
the palms, fingers and soles. These lesions are self limited, they may progress to small ulcers that heal in
7 to 10 days.
These lesions should be differentiated from those of herpes simplex which are deeper and more painful ulcerations usually located in front of the mouth. The disease is benign and symptomatic treatment is recommended.
In south east Asia and in Japan where HFMD is often caused by EV 71 some large-scale HFMD epidemics have caused some deaths among children.
Throat swabs or stool specimens may be used for viral isolation; however, the rash is often distinct
enough to permit reliable diagnosis on clinical grounds alone.