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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (cont.)

What Else Could It Be?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease can be confused with other viral causes of oral ulcers and blisters. Herpetic gingivostomatitis and herpangina are the conditions most commonly confused with hand, foot, and mouth disease. Differentiation is usually based on the fever history, the presence and appearance of the rash, and the location of the oral ulcers. Herpangina is caused by a number of different viruses and differs from hand, foot, and mouth disease in that the oral ulcers generally affect the posterior pharynx (back of the throat, uvula, tonsils, and posterior palate) and spare the anterior pharynx (gingiva, inner lips, cheeks, tongue), and the rash, if present, does not affect the palms and soles. Herpetic gingivostomatitis caused by HSV1 generally affects the anterior pharynx but is not associated with a rash on the palms and soles. Lastly, both herpangina and herpetic gingivostomatitis are associated with high fever, while hand, foot, and mouth disease generally is associated with a low-grade fever. If you are concerned, consult your health-care provider, since the management of the three illnesses differs slightly.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2014

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