The viral disease known as hand foot and mouth disease in the human is completely unrelated to the disease of the same name in animals. It is generally a mild condition and can affect any age but is predominantly seen in children aged under 10 years. Most adults will have already been exposed to the virus in childhood.
It is caused by an enterovirus, usually coxacki A16.
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Non-polio enteroviruses (including coxsackie A and B, echoviruses, and other enteroviruses) are among the most common viral infections in humans, second only to common cold viruses [Essex Health Protection Unit, 2009].
This group of viruses is most active in the late summer or early autumn in temperate climates [Frydenberg and Starr, 2003].
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) occurs worldwide. It appears sporadically as well as in regular epidemics. However, many cases are asymptomatic and go undetected [CDC, 2008].
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