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This infectious disease characteristically produces vesicular lesions on the mucous membranes of the soft palate, tonsillar pillars, and throat. Herpangina usually affects children under age 10 but seldom occurs in neonates (who are protected by maternal antibodies). It occurs slightly more often in late summer and fall and can be sporadic, endemic, or epidemic.


Herpangina is typically caused by coxsackievirus A. Herpangina is transmitted by fecal-oral transfer and has a 2- to 9-day incubation period.

Signs and symptoms

he following are the most common symptoms of herpangina. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • blister-like bumps in the mouth, usually in the back of the throat and on the roof of the mouth
  • headache
  • quick onset of fever
  • high fever, sometimes up to 106 º F
  • pain in the mouth or throat
  • drooling
  • decrease in appetite

Diagnostic tests

The virus may be isolated from mouth washings or stool. Elevated specific antibody titers confirm herpangina, but these tests seldom are done. Other laboratory test findings are normal except for slight leukocytosis.


Symptomatic treatment to relieve discomfort includes measures to reduce fever, prevent seizures, and promote hydration.


As with most viruses, there is no practical prevention. Awareness of other cases of herpangina in the neighborhood or school may allow earlier diagnosis.

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