Viruses – Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

November 22nd, 2010

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a viral disease that occurs in children under ten which I encounter in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  HFMD is most commonly caused by coxsackievirus A-16.  Initially, patients present with a fever and sore throat, soon followed by vesicles (blisters) on the buccal mucosa, tongue, soft palate, and gingiva.  The location of the vesicles in the anterior portion of the mouth differentiates HFMD from herpangina which occurs in the posterior pharynx.  The vesicles ulcerate and develop an erythematous (red) rim around them.  Similar vesicles develop on the palms and soles and are typically oval and run parallel to the skin lines.  The vesicles are usually asymptomatic.  HFMD usually lasts about a week and many patients are asymptomatic.  Treatment is supportive care but Acyclovir has been noted to hasten the resolution in some patients.