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Coxsackie Virus

What is Coxsackie Virus?

Coxsackie virus belongs to a group of viruses called enteroviruses. Enteroviruses are also referred to as picornaviruses. Coxsackie virus infections occur most often in young children. Although people of any age can get infected, the majority of patients identified with Coxsackie infection are children.

Babies and children are usually diagnosed by their clinical appearance. Clinically, blisters that are painful and usually appear on the hands, feet, and mouth of a child with a fever are considered diagnostic of Coxsackie virus infection.

Symptoms

This can be a very painful and bothersome illness, but it is not dangerous. The expected symptoms are high fever, blisters, severe mouth pain, sore throat, fussing, drooling, not eating, rash (small, red or white spots) and barely drinking for up to five days. The sores and drooling can continue on longer than this, but they are usually less painful with time.

Transmission

Infectious virus can be found in feces, saliva, fluid in blisters, and nasal secretions. Items like utensils, diaper-changing tables, and toys that come in contact with body fluids that contain the virus may also transmit them to other individuals.

Coxsackie virus infections are very contagious, mostly via the saliva. The individuals are most contagious for seven days after the symptoms begin, but because the virus can be shed by the infected individual sometimes for several weeks after the symptoms have gone away.

Complications

Coxsackie virus infections can lead to viral meningitis, myocarditis, encephalitis, and pericarditis, but these occur infrequently and most cases are uncomplicated and resolve within a week or so.

Dehydration is one of the most common complications.

What are the types of Coxsackie Viruses?

Coxsackie viruses are separable into two groups, A and B.

Type A viruses cause herpangina which is associated with painful blisters in the mouth, throat, hands, feet, or in all these areas. Type A also causes inflammation of the eyelids and white area of the eye.

Type B viruses cause epidemic pleurodynia which is associated with fever, lung, and abdominal pain and headaches that lasts about two to 12 days and resolves.

Coxsackie virus B infection may cause a postviral fatigue syndrome, juvenile-onset insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and other chronic diseases.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for Coxsackie virus infections.

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help with the pain and fever.

Cold liquids such as popsicles, slushies or frozen juice can both sooth your child's mouth sores and provide needed fluids during this illness.

Always consult your child's pediatrician if they develop an unusual high fever or sores in their mouth.

 

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