Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

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B08.8 – Other specified viral infections characterized by skin and mucous membrane lesions

266108008 – Hand foot and mouth disease


Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) is an acute, self-limited, viral illness caused most often by Coxsackievirus A16, though it can be caused by other coxsackieviruses and enteroviruses. HFMD affects children most often, but adults can also develop the disease. The incubation period is short, ranging from 3 to 6 days. The illness begins with a mild fever, sore throat and mouth, cough, headache, malaise, diarrhea, and occasionally arthralgias. One or two days after the onset of fever, small oral vesicles develop. Later, vesicles appear on the hands, feet, and occasionally the buttocks.

The disease is highly contagious, and it spreads via aerosolized droplets, nasal or oral secretions, or fecal material. Outbreaks usually occur from June to October. Though HFMD is typically self-limited, it can be complicated by encephalitis and other life-threatening complications. These complications include interstitial pneumonia, myocarditis, meningoencephalitis, and spontaneous abortion. Complications are more common when the disease is caused by an enterovirus, particularly Enterovirus EV-A71.

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