Coxsackievirus infection is very common in children and often occurs without parents realizing what is making their children ill. The following article on Coxsackievirus symptoms will help you spot the infection sooner and get your child treated accordingly.
Coxsackieviruses are infectious agents that belong to the genus Enterovirus and family Picornaviridae. This is the same group of viruses that includes the polio virus as well as echo viruses. They contain a single stranded RNA as its genetic material. These viruses are very small in size and therefore, referred to as pico (small) viruses. G. Dalldorf in the year 1948, had for the first time isolated the Coxsackievirus from human faces in Coxsackie, New York.
There are two types of Coxsackieviruses A and B. These viruses are categorized according to the symptoms and disease they cause in the infected person. It is, therefore, better to understand the different Coxsackievirus symptoms, in order to differentiate between the type of infection affecting the health of the patient.
Type A Coxsackievirus Symptoms
Coxsackievirus A is known to cause the diseased hand, foot and mouth disease in humans. This disease is totally unrelated to the foot and mouth disease in cattle. The hand, foot and mouth disease is very common in children under the age of 10. This disease is usually asymptomatic in nature. This means there are little or no symptoms present. However, the symptoms in children suffering from hand, foot and mouth disease include red blisters in the throat, on the tongue, gums, palate, inner side of the cheeks. These blisters also appear on the palms of hands and soles of feet.
When the blisters appear in the throat or above the tonsils, the condition is called herpangina. One observes red ringed blisters and ulcers on the soft palate as well as the tonsils. These blisters may also make an appearance on the back of the roof of the mouth. When the infection affects the whites of the eyes, it is called hemorrhagic conjunctivitis. This infection begins with an eye pain and the child soon develops swelling around the eyes. The eyes become watery and red that causes the child to suffer from light sensitivity and blurred vision.
Type B Coxsackievirus Symptoms
Type B Coxsackievirus was first discovered in areas of the United States, like Connecticut, Ohio, New York and Kentucky. This virus is known to cause gastrointestinal upsets in the affected patient. The type B symptoms include:
- Chest pains
It also leads to mild gastrointestinal upsets and can lead to serious complications like paralysis, heart damage and even birth defects (when infects pregnant women). Coxsackievirus B leads to many diseases that range from a common cold to pleurodynia. Patients with pleurodynia complain of sudden pain and soreness of muscles present between the ribs. It may even lead to the serious condition of aseptic meningitis. This leads to inflammation of the brain and spinal meninges. Coxsackievirus B also causes upper respiratory tract infection as well as pericarditis (inflammation of membranes around the heart), encephalitis (inflammation of brain). In some patients, it leads to lesions on the skin (exanthema), pneumonia, paralysis with loss of muscle tone (flaccid motor paralysis).
How Does Coxsackievirus Spread?
Coxsackieviruses A and B both spread from direct person-to-person contact. It is very contagious and spreads through nasal and throat discharges. It can even spread through fecal-oral route. This condition is highly contagious during the first week of infection. However, hand, foot and mouth disease does not spread from pet or other animals to humans or from humans to animals.
How is Coxsackievirus Treated?
There is no specific Coxsackievirus treatment available as of now. As this is a viral infection, antibiotics are not of much use. Patients with a Coxsackievirus infection are advised complete rest for a few days. Children should not be sent to school for at least a week as they can spread the infection to other children. The patient should be given plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. The doctor may prescribe Acetaminophen to help relieve the aches and pain. Apart from this, the doctor may suggest treatment plan according to the symptoms exhibited.
These were some of the Coxsackievirus symptoms that affect children as well as adults. Children and adolescents are more likely to fall prey to this infection than adults. It is important to prevent the infection by washing hands frequently, especially after using the toilet or changing baby diapers. If you have doubts about a Coxsackievirus infection, speak to your general practitioner for guidance right away.