• Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral illness most commonly caused by the Coxsackie virus A6.
  • Enteroviruses 71 (EV71) can also cause hand, foot and mouth disease.
  • Both adults and children can develop this infection. But young children below 5 years old are more susceptible.
  • It is a moderately contagious illness.
  • The incubation period is 5 days.
  • The illness begins with fever, which lasts for 24-48 hours.
  • Fever is followed by appearance of painful sores in mouth. They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. Tongue is involved.
  • There are peripherally distributed small tender non itchy rash with blisters on palms of the hands, and soles of feet and buttocks.
  • The sores hurt on touch and swallowing is difficult.
  • There is proximal separation of nail from the nail bed.
  • The virus is present in mucus from nose, saliva, fluid from sores and traces of bowel movements.
  • The virus spreads in the first week of infection.
  • The infection spreads from person to person by direct contact with nasal discharge, saliva or blister fluid or from stool of infected persons.
  • The virus can persist in the stool for weeks.
  • The illness is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals
  • The illness stays for 2-3 days. It is usually mild and self-limited.
  • Enterovirus 71 is associated with brain involvement (meningitis and encephalitis), lungs and the heart.
  • The patient remains infectious after the symptoms have gone.
  • Test is not necessary.
  • There is no specific treatment.
  • Paracetamol tablet can be taken to relieve pain and fever.
  • Aspirin is to be avoided in children.
  • Avoid dehydration.
  • Eat ice cream to numb the pain.
  • Using mouthwashes or sprays that numb the mouth.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid exposure to infected person.
  • Maintain touch hygiene to reduce your risk of acquiring the infection.
  • During first week of illness, the child should be kept in isolation.
  • Schools should be closed.
  • There is no vaccine currently available.