Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
(Vesicular Stomatitis with Exanthem)
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a mild, self-limiting, viral illness occurring most often in children under the age of 10. Cases may also occur in older children and adults. It is characterized by sudden onset, fever, sore throat, and lesions. Vesicles (small blisters containing clear fluid), resembling those occurring in chickenpox, occur inside the mouth and throat, on the lips, fingers, hands, and feet. These vesicles break easily and form small ulcers. There is usually a small, red area around these ulcers.
- Usually 3-5 days.
Period of Communicability:
- During the acute stage of illness and perhaps longer, since the virus persists in the stool for several weeks.
- Susceptibility to infection is universal.
- Transmission is through direct contact with discharges from nose and throat, and through the fecal-oral route.
- There is no specific treatment. A physician may prescribe treatment to relieve symptoms.
- Provide opportunity for rest and give child plenty of liquids if they have a fever.
Control of Spread:
- Good handwashing techniques are essential for children to use.
- Children should be excluded from school until their signs and symptoms are no longer present, and for one week after onset.
- Carriers of disease may be spreading infection to others without their knowledge.
- It is important to teach very young children good handwashing techniques. It is important to keep the infected child isolated or away from others when they have symptoms. It is important to wash hands thoroughly following contact with feces, saliva, and nasal secretions.