Frontiers of Medicine in China

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 139–146 | Cite as

Review of hand, foot and mouth disease



Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is an acute viral illness that primarily affects infants and young children, and often occurs in clusters or outbreaks. The major causative agents of HFMD are coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16), human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) and coxsackievirus A10 (CVA10), of the genus Enterovirus in the family Picornaviridae. HFMD caused by EV71 is associated with severe neurological complications and death. Since the late 1990s, several major epidemics of EV71 HFMD have swept through the Asia-Pacific region, associated with a rapid fulminant course, severe neurological complications, and a large number of fatalities. Until now, little has been known about the genetics and transmission trends of the fast-mutation virus, and there is no effective and specific antiviral therapy or vaccine for HFMD. It is time to step up efforts to understand the molecular epidemics and pathogenesis so that we can develop effective management strategies and surveillance programs.


hand foot and mouth disease epidemiology pathogenesis management surveillance 


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© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of MedicineZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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