Infectious diseases: hand-foot-and-mouth disease

An outbreak of hand-foot-and-mouth disease has been reported in various parts of the United States.

"Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is usually a viral infection in . Initially, they have fevers followed by sores on their hands, feet and mouths, which can sometimes be painful," says Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh.

Tosh says hand-foot-and-mouth is commonly caused by a coxsackievirus. While most of those who become ill are children, and are also affected. "Most people who become infected get better," he says. "Very rarely does it require hospitalization."

This mild infection is self-limiting, meaning there are no medications to treat this infection. Tosh says, "We do not have medicines for this so good supportive care is essential, including ensuring patients have plenty of fluids." Dehydration is a common complication of the illness. It can cause sores in the mouth and throat, making swallowing painful and difficult.

"The virus that usually causes hand-foot-and-mouth disease is often spread through saliva or contact with stool. A daycare setting or in a setting where there are children is a great breeding ground for an outbreak of hand-foot-and-mouth disease," says Tosh.

Practicing good hygiene is important to reducing the risk of contracting this infection.

Explore further

What you need to know about hand, foot and mouth disease

©2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Citation: Infectious diseases: hand-foot-and-mouth disease (2016, October 3) retrieved 5 July 2020 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments