Mouth-hand-foot disease is a mild and contagious viral infection that is quite common among children (between 1 and 3 years old).
Its main symptom is the appearance of blisters in the mouth, palms of the hands and feet, hence its name. And those responsible for these characteristic vesicles are the enteroviruses.
Recently the Enterovirus Unit of the National Microbiology Center (CNM) of the Carlos III Health Institute, has carried out a study on this virus, published in the journal Viruses, concluding that the notification of cases of this disease or vesicles related to the infection has increased in Spain in recent years.
The cause? Well, probably the increase in the circulation of one of the enterovirus serotypes, specifically the coxsackievirus CVA6, which until 2010 had not been detected in our country.
But quiet! The microbiologists they clarify that “the increase in cases is not worrying and its severity does not seem to be greater.”
Although the researchers recommend improving surveillance of enteroviruses in mucocutaneous manifestations, with the aim of facilitating the identification of new types or variants of enteroviruses that may be related to outbreaks and pathologies more serious.
It’s spread? What are your symptoms?
Is typically infantile disease and mild, we insist, it is transmitted easily, through direct contact by the fecal-oral (feces) and air (secretions from the nose, mouth or droplets that are released when coughing).
The pediatricians of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) explain that “the virus remains mostly in the feces or in the respiratory tract for several weeks after suffering from the disease.”
What’s more, can survive for a long time on objects handled and used with children, such as handkerchiefs, tables, sheets, towels … which makes transmission very simple.
What’s more, children can shed and shed the virus without ever having symptoms of hand-foot disease.
Once the child is infected, the incubation period is 3 to 6 days. And the symptoms that the enterovirus has infected them are:
There is no treatment and it can happen more than once
The only things parents have when their little ones have hand-foot-and-mouth disease are painkillers and patience. Because this pathology does not have a specific treatment that is not usual to reduce fever and discomfort.
In addition, as explained by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, the having passed the disease does not immunize. The large number of phenotypes of the enterovirus it can make our child contract the disease again.
So it is best to try to prevent contagion. How? Well, washing your hands regularly, especially after changing diapers, and disinfecting surfaces that may be contaminated (the changing table, sheets, car blankets …).
And little more, because to date no vaccine has been developed that acts against enteroviruses.
Can I send the child to school or kindergarten?
If the pandemic has achieved something, it is that any small symptom that the child presents is reason enough to leave it at home. This has probably prevented many childhood infections.
But the pediatricians of the AEP explain that in the case of hand-foot-mouth disease leaving them at home does not always prevent infections. Why? Well, because very often this infection does not produce symptoms. What’s more, transmission of the virus occurs before it begins to show its face.
So, not taking them to school or kindergarten when the blisters appear does not guarantee in any case the transmission of the virus to other classmates. If the child is well, does not have a fever, and the vesicles do not cause him too many problems, he can go to class without problem.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.