Hand Foot and Mouth (HFM) Disease
John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- What is hand foot and mouth (HFM) disease?
- What are the symptoms and signs of hand foot and mouth disease?
- What causes hand foot and mouth disease?
- How is hand foot and mouth disease spread?
- What is the incubation period for hand foot and mouth disease?
- When does hand foot and mouth disease usually occur?
- How does hand foot and mouth disease affect pregnancy and the baby?
- What is the course of hand foot and mouth disease?
- Why haven't we heard more about hand foot and mouth disease?
- How is hand foot and mouth disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for hand foot and mouth disease?
- Hand Foot and Mouth (HFM) Disease At A Glance
- Patient Comments: Hand Foot and Mouth Syndrome - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Hand Foot and Mouth Syndrome - Symptoms
- Find a local Pediatrician in your town
What is hand foot and mouth (HFM) disease?
Hand foot and mouth disease (HFM) is a viral infection characterized by fever and a typical rash most frequently seen on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and inside the mouth. It should not be confused with foot (hoof) and mouth disease that affects cattle, sheep, and swine.
What are the symptoms and signs of hand foot and mouth disease?
HFM is most commonly an illness of the spring and fall seasons. Initial symptoms of mild fever (101 F-102 F) and malaise are followed within one or two days by a characteristic rash. Small (2 mm-3 mm) red spots that quickly develop into small blisters (vesicles) appear on the palms, soles, and oral cavity. The gums, tongue, and inner cheek are most commonly involved. The foot lesions may also involve the lower calf region and rarely may appear on the buttocks. Oral lesions are commonly associated with a sore throat and diminished appetite.
What causes hand foot and mouth disease?
HFM is caused by several members of the enterovirus family of viruses. The most common cause is Coxsackie virus A-16; less frequently enterovirus 71 is the infectious agent. The clinical manifestations of routine HFM are the same regardless of the responsible virus. However, patients infected with enterovirus 71 are more likely to experience rare complications (for example, viral meningitis or cardiac muscle involvement).
Viewers share their comments
Parenting and Pregnancy
Get tips for baby and you.