Coxsackie virus (named after Coxsackie, New York) is part of the enterovirus family of viruses. It lives in the human digestive tract and is passed by touch and by droplets. In New York coxsackie usually occurs in the summer, though it can cause infections year-round in tropical parts of the world. The incubation period for coxsackie is 3-6 days. Children infected with coxsackie are most contagious in the first week of their infections, though virus can be cultured from the stool weeks after the symptoms have disappeared.
Signs and Symptoms
Coxsackievirus can produce a wide variety of symptoms. Many children with coxsackie have no symptoms, or only mild flu-like symptoms. Other children complain of sore throat and nausea. Mildly loose stools are another symptom. Most children with symptoms of coxsackie will appear sick for three to five days, though seven days is not uncommon.
Hand, foot, mouth disease is a form of coxsackie that presents with blister on the hands and feet, as well as in the mouth, and often on the buttocks. It is often accompanied by fevers as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Herpaniga is a form of coxsackie with blisters mostly in the mouth and on the tonsils.
Uncommonly, coxsackie can cause more serious infections like meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart.)
There is no specific medication for coxsackie. Treatment is supportive in nature, which means fever reducing medicine and lots of fluids. Ice pops and watermelon are favorites. There are no dietary restrictions for a child with coxsackie.
Call for an appointment if…
- your infant under two months of age has a rectal temperature of 100.4, even in the middle of the night.
- your baby of 12 months or younger has a temperature greater than 101 for more than 24 hours.
- your child over one year of age has a fever for more than 48 hours.
- your child of any age has a sore throat for more than 48 hours without a known cause (he needs to be checked for Strep throat)
- your child is not drinking well, is sleeping excessively and/or is complaining of severe pain.