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Herpangina

Herpangina is a viral illness that involves ulcers and sores (lesions) inside the mouth, a sore throat, and fever.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a related topic.

Images

Throat anatomy
Mouth anatomy

Causes

Herpangina is a common childhood infection. It is most often seen in children ages 3 to 10, but it can occur in any age group.

It is most often caused by Coxsackie group A viruses. These viruses are contagious. Your child is at risk for herpangina if someone at school or home has the illness.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

The ulcers most often have a white to whitish-gray base and a red border. They may be very painful. In most cases, there are only a few sores.

Exams and Tests

Tests are not normally necessary. Your health care provider can most often diagnose this condition by doing a physical exam and asking questions about the child's symptoms and medical history.

Treatment

The symptoms are treated as necessary:

Outlook (Prognosis)

The illness normally clears up within a week.

Possible Complications

Dehydration is the most common complication, but it can be treated by your provider.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

Prevention

Good handwashing can help prevent the spread of the viruses that lead to this infection.

Related Information

Hand-foot-mouth disease
Ulcers

References

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Viral diseases. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 19.

Messacar K, Abzug MJ. Nonpolio enteroviruses. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 277.

Romero JR. Coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and numbered enteroviruses (EV-A71, EVD-68, EVD-70). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 172.

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Review Date: 8/7/2019  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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