Coxsackie (Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease)



Coxsackie is a prevalent, communicable childhood illness caused typically due to the coxsackie A virus and in some situations due to the coxsackie B virus or enterovirus 71. All these viral forms come under one grouping called as enteroviruses.

The hand-foot-mouth disease name was derived due to the development of non-scratchy rashes on the palms and soles of the legs and even oral sores. Normally occurring in under-10 years infants, at times even adults and adolescents are affected. Majority of the grown-ups have immunity against the coxsackie A virus as they have had prior exposure to the disease during infanthood. Adults when infected with the disease have a tendency to exhibit milder version of the symptoms in comparison to kids.

Coxsackie Causes:

  • It is generally caused due to the coxsackie A or occasionally due to the coxsackie B (enterovirus 71) virus. These viral forms mostly are airborne diseases that are contracted while an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Being exposed to fluids that are emitted from sores, saliva or feces of an infected individual. The virus is known to remain in the feces for about a month’s time following recovery.

Coxsackie virusCoxsackie Symptoms:

Symptoms normally start appearing about three to seven days subsequent to being infected by the virus.

  • The disease initiates with the appearance of fever, lowered appetite, followed by pain-causing oral sores and non-scratchy rashes along with blister formations on the hands, feet and at times in the buttocks, genitals.
  • Subsequent to 12-36 hours, the reddish patches would turn into yellowish-red ulcerous growths in the mouth, found in the areas around the roof, tongue and the inner part of the cheeks. Painful in nature, they could cause major difficulty in eating, drinking and swallowing.
  • One to two days afterwards, the sores start developing in the fingers, palms, soles of the feet, reaching buttocks and genital region that would last for three to six days. They are smaller-sized as compared to the chicken pox sores.

Diagnosis & Tests:

  • The doctor would carry out a detailed examination of the disease and would be able to conclude the presence of the disease on the basis of the age, pattern of the signs appearing and the general appearance of the sores.
  • A swab taken from the throat region or a feces sample could be taken to confirm the presence of the enterovirus.

Coxsackie Treatment:

  • Taking rest, consuming loads of fluids and taking acetaminophen.
  • If the child is having fever or throat soreness, then paracetamol is given for allaying the pain and lowering the temperature. Infant acetaminophen could be given to the child. Though, aspirin should not be administered to those below sixteen years of age.
  • In case the sore gets infected due to scratching, then antibiotics could be given.
  • In pregnant women that get the disease just prior to delivery, there is a 65% likelihood of the disease being transmitted to the newborn. The babies would experience mild symptoms or in extreme situations get liver or heart infection. Newborns that are 2 weeks or lesser are at heightened risk of the vital organs getting infection leading to potentially fatal outcome.

Possible Complications:

  • Dehydration as the development of the sores might lead to difficulty in swallowing and drinking.
  • Sores becoming infected due to scratching.
  • In rare cases leading to viral or bacterial meningitis, encephalitis that are potentially life-menacing situations.

Coxsackie Prevention:

  • Maintaining adequate hygiene, regularly washing hands after visiting the loo, after touching diapers and prior to making any meals.
  • Not to share utensils with infected individuals, ensuring shared work areas are kept germ-free.
  • Avoiding close physical contact like hugging, kissing with infected persons.
  • Keeping the kid away from school or playschool during illness.
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