Skip to content

Biological Health Hazard – Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD): San Luis Obispo, California


Published Date: 2016-04-13 21:34:05
Subject: PRO/EDR> Hand foot & mouth disease – USA (02): (CA) coxsackievirus
Archive Number: 20160413.4158388

Date: 12 Apr 2016
Source: KSBY [edited]

A variation of coxsackievirus causing hand, foot and mouth disease [HFMD] is affecting many local children [in the San Luis Obispo, CA area], doctors say.

The airborne virus is highly contagious and causes those affected to develop blisters on their hands, feet, and mouths. These lesions can be accompanied by a fever, sore throat, and severe discomfort. The blisters, which can last up to a week and be quite painful, can make doing everyday activities difficult.

“She couldn’t walk for a couple days because she had so many blisters on her feet,” says a local mom about her one-year-old daughter. “So she was in the stroller or in our arms, which was really hard. It’s just really hard to see our kid in pain and not really be able to do anything to help them.”

Although people of any age can catch it, the virus is especially common among very young populations. “Eventually, 100 percent of the children will be exposed to the coxsackievirus virus,” says Dr. Rene Bravo of Bravo Pediatrics. However, this does not mean all children will develop symptoms. About 20 percent of those exposed to the virus will catch it.

Dr. Bravo recommends that children who catch the virus be taken out of school or daycare to prevent the spread of the disease. “Wait until the blisters heal and no new one shows up, and then you are welcome to come back to daycare,” says owner of Little Blossoms Daycare and Preschool.

Although there is no immediate cure, at-home treatments can be used to make the affected person more comfortable. According to Dr. Bravo, over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Advil can help with pain, while calamine lotion can help calm the skin. If you suspect that your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, take a picture on your phone and email it to your pediatrician to save yourself a trip into the doctor’s office.

[Byline: Amanda Starrantino]

Communicated by:

[Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common human syndrome caused by highly contagious intestinal viruses. HFMD is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), which affects cattle, sheep, and swine. However, the 2 diseases are caused by different viruses and are not related. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by an enterovirus, most commonly coxsackievirus A16. However, other enteroviruses like coxsackievirus A10 or A6 have also been detected in outbreaks. Internationally, enterovirus 71 is another common etiologic agent.

HFMD is highly contagious and is transmitted by nasopharyngeal secretions such as saliva or nasal mucus, by direct contact, or by fecal-oral transmission. Preventive measures include avoiding direct contact with infected individuals (including keeping infected children home from school), proper cleaning of shared utensils, disinfecting contaminated surfaces, and proper hand hygiene. These measures have been shown to be effective in decreasing the transmission of the viruses responsible for HFMD.

A diagnosis usually can be made by the presenting signs and symptoms alone. If the diagnosis is unclear, a throat swab or stool specimen may be taken to identify the virus by culture.

Medications are usually not needed as hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral disease that typically gets better on its own. Currently, there is no specific curative treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease.

Reference: Sarma, N (March-April 2013): “Hand, foot and mouth disease: current scenario and Indian perspective.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology 79 (2): 165-175. doi:10.4103/0378-6323.107631. PMID 23442455.

Disease management typically focuses on achieving symptomatic relief. Pain from the sores may be eased with the use of analgesic medications. Infection in older children, adolescents, and adults is typically mild and lasts approximately one week but may occasionally run a longer course. Fever reducers and lukewarm baths can help decrease body temperature.

A minority of individuals with hand, foot and mouth disease may require hospital admission due to uncommon neurologic complications such as inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the meninges, or acute flaccid paralysis. Non-neurologic complications such as inflammation of the heart, fluid in the lungs, or bleeding into the lungs may also occur.

Currently, there is no vaccine available against coxsackievirus-associated HFMD. – Mod.UBA

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

See Also

Hand foot & mouth disease – Australia: (NS) coxsackievirus, corr. 20160413.4158303
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA: (CA) fitness club 20160306.4072937
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA: (WI) school 20151023.3736703
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA (06): (VA) university students 20121017.1348975
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA (05): (PA), sports-related 20120925.1308763
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA (04) 20120918.1298802
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA (03): (NV), Coxsackie A6 20120816.1248050
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA (02): (NC) 20120508.1126671
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA: (NE) 20120418.1105864
Hand-foot & mouth disease – USA: (multistate) Coxsackievirus A6 20120329.1084829
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA: (AL) Coxsackie A6 virus 20120211.1039435
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA (02): (TX), daycare facilities 20111028.3210
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA: (AR) 20110519.1513
Hand, foot & mouth disease – USA (OH) 20040526.1416

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s