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> Updates > Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease is a common infection caused by a group of viruses, specifically Coxsackievirus A16 and less commonly, enterovirus 71.It generally manifests as a fever with rash, but the location of the rash is characteristic - hence, diagnosis is made usually on symptoms alone.Seen in children below 10 years, but can be seen in adults as well.Spread by:* It is spread by close means of contact - either through close personal contact through air from coughing, or fomites (objects on which droplets from cough settle) or feces of an infected person* It is highly contagious* Small outbreaks thus occur in nursery schools or kindergartenSigns & Symptoms:* Fever* Nausea/Vomiting* Generalized weakness* Irritability - seen in toddlers* Fingernail/toenail loss after 4-8 weeks in rare cases (temporary)Skin lesions:* Rash starts as discolored maculopapules, which eventually become vesicular (goes from flat/slightly raised to fluid-filled)* Occurs in palms of the hands, soles of the feet, ankles, knees, elbows, buttocks, and around mouth.* In adults, there can be painful blisters in and around nose and mouth and severe itchingDiagnosis:It is usually made on clinical signs & symptoms alone, but occasionally, a throat swab or stool sample can be taken to identify the virusPrevention:* Avoiding direct contact with affected individuals* Proper hand washing technique and timings and inculcating a good hand washing habit in children* Disinfecting contaminated surfaces, particularly in play schools and kindergartensThough common, good hand washing habits and disinfection of contaminated surfaces, and identifying the disease based on lesions and their spread can help stave off chances of spread to others in the community and can help prevent an outbreak.- Dr. Siddhant Dubey