Coxsackie Virus

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    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.

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Coxsackie virus facts

  • Coxsackie viruses are RNA viruses that may cause hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD).
  • HFMD usually occurs in children but can occur in adults.
  • The majority of HFMD infections are self-limited, so no treatment is required.
  • HFMD, caused by coxsackie viruses, usually causes fever, malaise, rash, and small blisters that ulcerate. The most frequent locations for the blisters/ulcers are on the palms of the hand, soles of the feet, and in the mouth.
  • HFMD usually resolves in about 10 days with no scarring, but the person may shed coxsackie virus for several weeks.
  • Although lab tests for coxsackie viruses can be done, the vast majority of infections are diagnosed by clinical features (HFMD blisters/ulcers), but this may change with the onset of new outbreaks and causes of severe HFMD.
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for coxsackie virus infections.
  • Prevention is difficult; avoid direct contact with anyone with HFMD, and their stool, saliva, and blister fluid. Hand washing and cleaning of items handled by HFMD patients are the best additional methods for prevention.

What is coxsackie virus?

Coxsackie virus is a member of the Picornaviridae family of viruses in the genus termed Enterovirus. Coxsackie viruses are subtype members of Enterovirus that have a single strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA) for its genetic material. The enteroviruses are also referred to as picornaviruses (pico means "small," so "small RNA viruses"). Coxsackie virus was first isolated from human feces in the town of Coxsackie, N.Y., in 1948 by G. Dalldorf. Coxsackie virus is also written as coxsackievirus in some publications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/2/2015

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