We have been seeing a rise in the number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in
school children. These may be mistaken for chicken pox. Delhi
Hand, foot and mouth disease: Salient facts
- 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.
- Entero 71 virus 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.
- Dehydration should be avoided.
- Eat ice cream to numb the pain.
- Using mouthwashes or sprays that numb 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