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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is not a reportable disease in Oklahoma; however, the Oklahoma State Department of Health looks into situations where there are many cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in order to control the spread of this disease.  HFMD is a viral infection caused by a virus from the enterovirus group called coxsackie virus.  It causes a fever and a blister-like rash that occurs on the hands, feet and in the mouth.  Symptoms can also include poor appetite (not feeling hungry), runny nose and sore throat.  The rash often shows up 1 or 2 days after these symptoms occur.  Persons can be infected with the virus and have no symptoms.  HFMD occurs more often in the summer and early fall.

Anyone can get HFMD, but it mostly occurs in infants and young children.  The virus is spread from person-to-person by direct contact with body fluids from infected persons.  Body fluids that can spread the virus are nose and throat fluids, fluid from blisters, and stool of infected persons.  People are contagious during the 7 days after symptoms start.  The period between infection and the start of symptoms is 3 to 7 days.  Infected persons who do not look ill can also spread the virus to others.  HFMD should not be confused with a different disease that affects cattle, sheep, and pigs called “foot and mouth disease”

How to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease:

  • Good personal cleanliness, including hand washing, is the best way to prevent infection with coxsackie virus, especially after contact with a likely source such as after changing a diaper.
  • Contaminated objects, such as changing tables and toys, should be cleaned with soap and water, then disinfected with a bleach solution.  One gallon of water plus ¼ cup of bleach will kill viruses on surfaces, however this solution needs to be mixed daily to work properly.
  • Healthcare workers should wear disposable gloves when handling sheets or clothes soiled with the feces or urine of persons who are ill.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Fact Sheet and Information:

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Fact Sheet (154k.pdf)

External Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Resources:

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (CDC)

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