In this section
Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection. It
is not linked to the foot and mouth disease that affect
animals. HFMD is mainly seen in children under the age of 10 or in young adults. It is easily spread from one person to
another. Most people have had HFMD by the time they are
adults. It rarely causes further complications and is very
Symptoms usually start three to seven days after
catching the infection and can last from seven to 10 days.
Admission to hospital is rarely needed. The common signs and
The main way HFMD is spread is by touching the fluid from inside
the blisters or fluids from the nose, mouth and chest spread
from sneezing and coughing. It can also be in bowel movements
(poo) for up to several weeks after a person has been infected.
Hand foot and mouth disease is caused by a group of viruses
known as enteroviruses. It is most commonly caused by the
coxsackie virus A 16, with the virus EV 71 being less common.
This fact sheet produced in consultation
with Emergency Department and Infection Control Department.
First published Oct 2006. Updated November 2010.
References: National Center for Infectious Diseases, Respiratory
and Enteric Viruses Branch (USA) www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/enterovirus/hfhf.htm