jueves, 1 de diciembre de 2011

Hand, foot and mouth disease or HFMD

This blog will be mostly about parasites but, well, bacteria and viruses sometimes are also "parasites" so first entry (ok, second) is about viruses.

A few days ago, an American friend wrote me concerned about an illness that was affecting their grandchildren and that was causing them ulcers in the mouth and throat, as well as lesions on the hands and feet. He said it was very common in the United States and if I could tell him something about it. Honestly... I has no idea what he was talking about... So I did some research and after asking to a microbiologist friend, he gave me the acronym HFMD (Hand Foot Mouth Disease). Now, I can tell you something about this disease:

The hand, foot and mouth disease or HFMD is caused by viruses of the enterovirus family, the main coxsackievirus A16 and enterovirus 71 (a bit less common and more severe).
It affects mainly infants and young children (below 10 years), although occasional adults may have the disease but usually they had been in contact with the virus during childhood and are immunized.
It is contracted by contact with secretions from the nose and mouth (mucus and saliva), blister fluid and faeces. After an incubation period about 3 and 7 days, appears malaise, headache, fever, along with small blisters on hands, feet and mouth (lips and perioral area). In infants is very common ocurrence of blisters in the diaper area. In the oral cavity, these blisters often generate ulcers in throat, mouth, gums and tongue.
The illness lasts about a week or two. There is no specific treatment and are only recommended medication to relieve discomfort and prevent complications. Children are often in a bad mood due to discomfort, cry a lot and eat little because the painful blisters in the mouth... patience... it is a self-limited disease and only rarely is serious.
Measures to prevent the disease are the correct hand washing, cleaning surfaces, avoid contact with sick people... come on... which is almost impossible with kids.. so you have to be alert, not alarmed much (or not more than necesary) and know that it is more common in summer and early fall.

It is the "typical" photography that appears on all web pages.

PS1.- Thanks to Robert for giving me the "acronym" and to James for making me the question.

PS2.- Problems with my English? I would apreciate your help.

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