Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

  • Medical Author:
    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.

  • 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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What causes hand, foot, and mouth disease?

HFMD is caused by several members of the enterovirus family of viruses. The most common cause is Coxsackievirus A-16; less frequently enterovirus 71 is the infectious agent. The clinical manifestations of routine HFMD 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).

Picture of characteristic rash and blisters of hand, foot, and mouth disease
Picture of characteristic rash and blisters of hand, foot, and mouth disease
Picture of characteristic mouth sores of hand, foot, and mouth disease
Picture of characteristic mouth sores of hand, foot, and mouth disease
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/10/2015
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