Symptoms and Signs of Coxsackievirus Infection

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 2/4/2022

Doctor's Notes on Coxsackievirus Infection

Coxsackieviruses are enteroviruses. There are numerous serotypes. Signs and symptoms vary; many infections may not cause any symptoms while other infections may cause the common cold, a reddish rash, sore throat, or diarrhea. Less common but more severe signs and symptoms include meningitis (a stiff neck, chest pain, and fever), upper respiratory tract infections that may include cough, weakness, and fatigue. Toward the end of some infections, a sunburn-like rash may occur.

The virus may also cause hand-foot-mouth disease (commonly seen in children) and cause characteristic red spots and blisters on the soles of the feet, the palms, and/or inside the mouth. In some children, the tender blisters occur only inside the mouth with fever and sore throat (herpangina). Other Coxsackieviruses may cause conjunctivitis with swollen eyelids and red hemorrhages in the whites of the eye.

Rarely, some viral types may cause paralysis and/or weakness that is usually not permanent. Other rare signs and symptoms are pleurodynia (sharp chest pain and possibly abdominal pain), myopericarditis (shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling and fatigue), severe infections of the newborn (child becomes listless and/or unresponsive), and orchitis in young boys (inflammation and swelling of one or both testicles with severe pain).

The cause of the above symptoms and signs is infection with Coxsackieviruses.

What Are the Treatments for Coxsackieviruses?

There are no specific treatments for infections caused by these viruses. They usually occur in children and resolve themselves in about 1 week. Most pediatricians recommend the following for symptomatic treatment:

  • Rest
  • Fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Over-the-counter pain and fever reducers (Do not use aspirin for children 18 years of age or younger.)

However, if your child develops severe symptoms like high fevers or joint pain and/or very painful headaches, see a medical caregiver immediately.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.