Advertisement

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?

Hand-foot-mouth disease is an infection that is usually caused by a virus called coxsackievirus, but can be caused by other viruses, as well. Hand-foot-mouth disease is most common in children under age 10, but teens and adults can also get it. It is spread from person to person much like a common cold, through sneezes or coughs, by touching surfaces a sick person has touched, or by touching other body fluids from a person who has the virus. Symptoms include a sore throat, headache, fever, loss of appetite and sores in the mouth or throat. There may also be small, tender blisters on the hands, feet or diaper area. Since antibiotics don't work for viruses, treatment involves keeping the fever down and getting plenty of fluids. Sometimes, hand-foot-mouth disease is confused with foot-and-mouth disease, but these are two different diseases. Hand-foot-mouth disease affects humans, while foot-and-mouth disease affects animals with hoofed feet.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a particular strain of the coxsackie virus. It causes typical symptoms of mouth sores, and painful lesions on the hands and feet, hence its name. Rarely, it can also cause inflammation of the brain and meninges.

Continue Learning about Infectious Disease

How Important Are Efforts to Improve Water Quality for Health in Developing Countries?
How Important Are Efforts to Improve Water Quality for Health in Developing Countries?
What Do We Really Know about Malaria Today?
What Do We Really Know about Malaria Today?
How Many Patients Acquire an Infection While Being Hospitalized?
How Many Patients Acquire an Infection While Being Hospitalized?
Are All Pandemics Caused By Infectious Diseases?
Are All Pandemics Caused By Infectious Diseases?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.