Coxsackieviruses are members of the large family of enteroviruses. These are viruses that infect via chiefly the gastrointestinal tract (the so-called fecal-oral route of transmission), although also via the respiratory tract.

There are many viral types or strains identified by antibody testing (rarely bothered with) or viral cultures (even more rarely done). These different strains may cause all manner of different symptoms.

  • common cold symptoms
  • pharyngitis - sore throat
  • herpangina - severe sore throat with ulcerations around the tonsils
  • stomatitis - mouth ulcers more to the front of the mouth and tongue, similar to herpes (cold sore) virus infections
  • viral pneumonia
  • pleurodynia - chest pain with breathing caused by inflammation of the membranes around the lungs
  • rash - exanthem
  • viral meningitis or encephalitis
  • gastroenteritis with vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain
  • hepatitis
  • acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis of the eye
  • myopericarditis of the heart

Some types of coxsackievirus are associated with specific clinical diseases:

  • coxsackievirus A16 and enterovirus 71 with hand-foot-mouth disease
  • coxsackievirus A24 and enterovirus 70 with acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis
  • coxsackieviruses B1-B5 with myopericarditis

Because these viruses spread chiefly by contact with fecal excretions, scrupulous handwashing is always the best defense against spread of these infections.

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