Coxsackie Virus

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on November 03, 2021
2 min read


Coxsackievirus is a member of a family of viruses called enteroviruses. Enteroviruses are made up of a single strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA). The enteroviruses are also referred to as picornaviruses (pico means "small," so, "small RNA viruses"). They are present all over the world, and spread by fecal-oral route. About 90% of infections don't cause symptoms or present with a fever only. Infants and young kids are particularly susceptible to symptomatic coxsackie.

Coxsackievirus got its name because it was first found in the town of Coxsackie, located south of Albany in New York.

There are two coxsackievirus serotypes that cause most of the clinically recognized syndromes, usually in infants and kids. Types A and B are the most common. Type A viruses cause herpangina (sores in the throat) and hand, foot, and mouth disease, common among children. Children will get painful blisters in their mouth, and small tender lesions on the palms of their hands and bottom of their feet. It goes away on its own, but can cause complications if the child can't drink or eat cause of pain. Group A virus also causes herpangina, blisters on the tonsils and soft palate, which presents as a sore throat. Group B virus causes infrequent, summer outbreaks of fever and spasms of the abdominal and chest muscles (pleurodynia). Subtypes of group A and B can cause more severe symptoms, including meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain).