Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common disease in children caused by enteroviruses such as coxsackieviruses and enterovirus 71 (EV71). The EV71 infection is of particular concern as it more likely associates with severe outcomes (like viral meningitis, encephalitis, poliomyelitis-like paralysis) and even death. The usual peak season for HFMD is from early summer to autumn, with a smaller peak in winter.
The disease is mostly self-limiting and resolves in 1 week. It usually begins with fever, poor appetite, tiredness and sore throat. One to two days later, painful ulcers will develop inside the mouth, and non-itchy skin rash with vesicles will appear mainly on the hands and feet. The disease is most contagious during the first week of the illness and the viruses can be found in stool for weeks.
Infection will result in immunity to (protection against) the specific virus that has caused HFMD. However, a second attack of HFMD may occur following infection with a different member of the enterovirus group.
Mode of transmission
The disease mainly spreads by contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from vesicles or patients’ stool, or after touching contaminated objects.
About 3-7 days.