Focus on hand, foot and mouth disease

  • Stephani Schmidt Amayeza Information Services
Keywords: hand, foot, mouth, diseases, children


Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common viral illness that causes sores to form in the mouth, on the hands, feet, buttocks and occasionally, the genitals. It mostly affects infants and children younger than five years of age. However, all age groups, including adults, can get HFMD.

HFMD typically occurs during the summer and autumn months in South Africa but can occur at any time of the year. It is a highly contagious disease that can spread quickly from one child to another in day-care centres or crèches causing small outbreaks. 

It is important to note that HFMD only occurs in humans and does not occur in animals. It is different to foot-and-mouth disease (also known as hoof-and-mouth disease) which affects animals such as cattle, goats, pigs or sheep.

Author Biography

Stephani Schmidt, Amayeza Information Services

MSc (Pharm), Amayeza Information Services

Childhood diseases