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Hand foot and mouth disease is a common mild and short-lasting condition most often affecting young children during the summer months.

Hand-foot-and-mouth is due to an enterovirus infection, usually Coxsackie virus A16, although it can also be due to Enterovirus 71. It is very infectious, so several members of the family or a school class may be affected.

After an incubation period of 3 to 5 days, the infection results in flat small blisters on the hands and feet, and oral ulcers. These are sometimes painful, so the child eats little and frets. There may be a mild fever. Sometimes in young children there is a rash on the buttocks.

After a few days the blisters and mouth ulcers settle leaving no scars. Second infections are rare.

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