Parent Information

Coxsackievirus and Enterovirus

Coxsackievirus belongs to a general group of viruses known as the enterovirus family.  There are several kinds of enteroviruses, including coxsackievirus, echovirus, and reovirus.  Each group in turn has numbered subtypes.  Several types of enteroviruses, including coxsackievirus A16, cause the well-known Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease, which consists of blisters on the hands, feet, and buttocks, as well as sores in the mouth and throat.  Fever, malaise, and diarrhea frequently accompany the rash.

In temperate climates, the entire enterovirus family tends to predominate in summer and fall.  In addition to Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease, enteroviruses can be responsible for a wide variety of illnesses including the common cold, pharyngitis, fever, rash, and vomiting and diarrhea.  The incubation period is 3-6 days and the mode of transmission is predominantly fecal-oral, although oral-oral (saliva) transmission is also important.  Careful handwashing will limit spread.

If your child has Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease, Tylenol or ibuprofen is recommended for the fever and discomfort.  If your child has mouth ulcers, encourage plenty of cold fluids and offer a bland diet since the ulcers are frequently painful.

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