Coxsackie Virus (Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease)

The Coxsackie Virus, also know as Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a contagious illness that is caused by different viruses. It is common in infants and children younger than 5 years old; however, older children and adults can also get HFMD.

Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease often include the following:

  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sore throat
  • A feeling of being unwell
  • Painful sores in the mouth that usually begin as flat red spots
  • A rash of flat red spots that may blister on the palms of the hand, soles of the feet, and sometimes the knees, elbows, buttocks, and/or genital area

These symptoms usually appear in stages, not all at once. Also, not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people may show no symptoms at all, but they can still pass the virus to others.

HFMD is usually not serious. The illness is typically mild, and nearly all people recover in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment. Complications are uncommon.

HFMD spreads from an infected person to others through:

  • Close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing cups and eating utensils
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Contact with feces, for example when changing a diaper
  • Contact with blister fluid
  • Touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them

People with HFMD are most contagious during the first week of their illness. However, they may sometimes remain contagious for weeks after symptoms go away. Some people, especially adults, may not develop any symptoms, but they can still spread the viruses to others.

There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Fever and pain can be managed with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It is important for people with HFMD to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration.

There is no vaccine to protect against HFMD. However, you can reduce the risk of getting infected with the viruses that cause HFMD by following a few simple steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers, and help young children do the same.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who have HFMD.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Website.