PDF Version of this Fact Sheet
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by one of several types of viruses
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually characterized by tiny
blisters on the inside of the mouth and the palms of the hands, fingers,
soles of the feet. It is commonly caused by coxsackievirus A16 (an
enterovirus), and less often by other types of viruses.
Anyone can get hand, foot, and mouth disease
Young children are primarily affected, but it may be seen in adults.
Most cases occur in the summer and early fall. Outbreaks may occur among
groups of children especially in child care centers or nursery
schools. Symptoms usually appear 3 to 5 days after exposure.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually spread through person-to-person contact
People can spread the disease when they are shedding the virus in
their feces. It is also spread by the respiratory tract from mouth or
respiratory secretions (such as from saliva on hands or toys). The
virus has also been found in the fluid from the skin blisters. The
infection is spread most easily during the acute phase/stage of illness
when people are feeling ill, but the virus can be spread for several
weeks after the onset of infection.
The symptoms are much like a common cold with a rash
The rash appears as blisters or ulcers in the mouth, on the inner
cheeks, gums, sides of the tongue, and as bumps or blisters on the
hands, feet, and sometimes other parts of the skin. The skin rash may
last for 7 to 10 days.
There is no specific treatment for the virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease
Help prevent and control the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease by:
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464