This week’s featured microbe is coxsackievirus, better known as Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease or HFMD.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease:
- is common in children younger than 5
- symptoms appear in stages and include mouth sores and flat red spots that blister on the hands, feet, and sometimes knees, elbows, buttocks, and/or genital
- is part of the enterovirus family (which includes polioviruses and hepatitis A virus) that live in the human digestive tract
- washing hands is the best way to preventan infection
- is a single-stranded RNA virus
- were discovered in 1948–49 by a scientist at the New York State Department of Health
- can also cause disease of the lungs and heart
- there are two types of the virus, A and B, differentiated based on their effects on newborn mice
- over 24 different serotypes
- Coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16, type A) causes the majority of infections in the U.S.
- type B viruses cause epidemic pleurodynia (Bornholm disease)
- types A and B can cause meningitis, myocarditis, and pericarditis
- incubation period is between 1-5 days
- symptoms of the disease last about 7 days
- diagnosis is done through clinical observation, though diagnostic testing may be done on rare occasions by a specialized viral diagnostic laboratory that uses RT-PCR
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