We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Coxsackievirus?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Coxsackievirus is a pathogen that is highly contagious and infectious to humans, especially in infants, young children, and people with weakened immune systems. There are at least 24 different strains of Coxsackievirus, each of which can cause particular symptoms and health complications. Most infections are relatively mild and may cause fever, sore throat, and flu-like symptoms. It is possible, however, for a virus to result in severe organ damage or muscle paralysis. Antiviral medications are largely ineffective at curing infections, and supportive treatment decisions are made based on the nature of symptoms.

Most doctors classify strains of Coxsackievirus into two distinct groups. Group A includes those strains that are capable of affecting the throat, mouth, and muscles. Group B pathogens tend to impair organ functioning. Members of both groups are transmitted from person-to-person via the fecal-oral route, which means that food or water that is contaminated with waste can introduce the virus to the digestive tract. There is also evidence that pathogens can become airborne and inhaled into the lungs.

The most common type of Coxsackievirus infection is a group A pathogen called hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). Young children and people who live in unsanitary conditions are at the highest risk of acquiring HFMD. Once the virus enters the digestive tract, it begins to replicate itself and spread throughout the body. Symptoms may include fever, headache, painful skin rashes, and open sores in the mouth. In the most severe cases, HFMD and other group A infections can lead to muscle paralysis and neurological symptoms similar to those caused by polio.

Group B Coxsackieviruses typically cause less serious symptoms than those in group A, though some infections can become deadly if they are not treated. Pathogens tend to infiltrate the lining of different organs, including the lungs, heart, and brain. A person may experience shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing that worsen over the course of about one week and then spontaneously resolve. If the heart is affected, a person may experience high blood pressure and chest pains. Brain infections can lead to chronic headaches, confusion, and possibly stroke or coma.

Doctors have not discovered a reliable cure for Coxsackievirus. If blood tests and physical exams reveal infection, a patient is typically given anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers to help ease symptoms. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent open lesions from becoming infected with bacteria. Rarely, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the brain or heart. With treatment, most people experience full recoveries from their symptoms within about one month.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.