Herpangina (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for herpangina?

The prognosis is usually excellent. This is a self-limited syndrome which resolves on its own after a week or so. Very rarely, younger patients may refuse to drink or eat and will require intravenous hydration. It is important to manage a young child's pain to prevent this from occurring. In addition, enteroviral infections can also cause viral or aseptic meningitis, but even these patients usually recover fully.

What is the difference between herpangina and hand foot and mouth disease?

Both herpangina and hand foot and mouth (HFM) disease are caused by enteroviruses. Both cause oral blisters and ulcers. The locations of the blisters differ, with HFM lesions occurring at the front of the mouth and herpangina lesions occurring at the back of the mouth. Approximately 75% of children with HFM also develop skin lesions on the palms and soles (as the name implies), but children with herpangina rarely develop any typical rashes.

Can herpangina be prevented?

Prevention of herpangina is dependent upon good hygiene and avoidance with individuals infected with coxsackievirus. This is easier said than done, since as mentioned earlier, 50% of infected individuals remain asymptomatic. There is no vaccine.

Where can people find more information about herpangina?

"Non-Polio Enterovirus Infections," CDC

"Viral Exanthems," Dermatology Online Journal

"Herpangina," NIH

Medically reviewed Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


Dyer, J.A. "Childhood Viral Exanthems." Pediatric Annals. 36.1 Jan. 2007: 21-29.

Lee, T.C. "Diseases Caused by Enterovirus 71 Infection." Ped Infect Dis J. 28.10 Oct. 2009: 904-910.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014

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