Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

A smiling group of five babies

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in older children and adults. Typical symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, mouth sores, and a skin rash.

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About Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Describes causes of the disease, its symptoms, rare complications, how it spreads, how it is diagnosed, how to lower your risk of being infected, and how to help relieve symptoms...

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Outbreaks

Provides basic information about cases and outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease...

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References & Resources

Provides references to scientific articles and educational materials...

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Multimedia

Includes a feature story, podcast, and other CDC resources about personal hygiene...

Prevention

People infected with hand, foot, and mouth disease can spread it to others when they cough or sneeze. You can also get hand, foot, and mouth disease if you come into contact with an infected person’s blister fluid or feces (poop). Lower your risk of being infected by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Disinfect dirty surfaces and soiled items.
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with infected people.
Commonly Confused With Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), which affects cattle, sheep, and swine. However, the two diseases are caused by different viruses and are not related. Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library, Foot-and-Mouth Disease pdf icon[2 pages]external icon.

Outbreaks of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Large outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease are not common in the United States. However, they occur often in some countries in Asia. Thousands of people may get infected. Some people, particularly young children, may have severe disease that requires hospitalization or, rarely, even causes death. Travelers to these countries can protect themselves by practicing good personal hygiene. Learn more.

To learn more about outbreaks occurring in countries in Asia, visit the World Health Organization pdf icon[1.48 MB, 71 pages]external icon.

Podcast: Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease podcast.

A CDC epidemiologist, Dr. Eileen Schneider, talks about hand, foot, and mouth disease, its symptoms, how it spreads, and ways to help protect yourself and your children from getting infected with the virus. Listen to the 4-minute podcast.