HFMD and Herpangina

Difference between HFMD and Herpangina

HFMD and Herpangina

HFMD and Herpangina is similar in that they are both caused by enteroviruses and often present with mouth sores.

Hfmd and Hand herpangina, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), and Herpangina are two common viral illnesses that primarily affect young children. While they share some similarities in terms of causative viruses and overlapping symptoms like fever and sore throat, there are critical differences that set them apart. HFMD is characterized by a rash on the hands, feet, and mouth, whereas Herpangina results in small, painful ulcers at the back of the mouth.

Understanding the differences between these two diseases is vital for accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate care. This article aims to provide a comprehensive examination of HFMD and Herpangina, highlighting their similarities and contrasting their unique features, to guide parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals in managing these conditions.

 Definition of HFMD

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), most often caused by Coxsackievirus infection, is one of the most widespread viral illnesses that affect young children under five. Fever and painful mouth sores may also develop, as well as blisters on feet or hands and an accompanying sore throat or fever. Other symptoms could be sore throat, fever, or blisters appearing on feet and hands as symptoms of influenza infection.

Figure 01: HFMD

Zika virus infections are highly contagious infections spread through close physical contact between infected individuals. Diagnosis typically takes place through observation of symptoms and background factors; laboratory testing then verifies this determination.

There is no definitive treatment plan available to address HFMD; instead, treatment aims at relieving symptoms with drinking water, rest, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Preventive measures like regular handwashing, not close contact with infected individuals, and disinfection protocols are key components in stopping HFMD’s spread.

Although typically self-limiting and typically resolved within about seven days of infection, medical advice must always be sought if symptoms worsen; complications are uncommon but do occur occasionally; by following prevention guidelines closely many recover without difficulty from this illness.

 Definition of Herpangina

Herpangina is an infection caused by Coxsackievirus group A; other enteroviruses could also contribute. Most often, it affects children under 10 years old and presents symptoms including fever, sore throat pain when swallowing, and blisters or ulcers in the rear mouth area.

Disease transmission occurs by contact with saliva or respiratory secretions from someone infected, or even being exposed to objects contaminated with their secretions, as well as being exposed to potentially infected objects. Diagnosing Herpangina typically relies on physical examination and evaluation of symptoms that are characteristic, with laboratory tests available to confirm it if necessary.

Figure 02: Herpangina

Treatment typically aims at relieving symptoms. Hydration, rest and prescription pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may provide effective pain relief. Preventive strategies mirror those for treating HFMD by emphasizing frequent handwashing as well as limiting direct contact with those infected and cleaning shared objects regularly.

Herpangina typically resolves within one week without medical intervention proper treatment and monitoring are vital to its healing as infants and youngsters often experience severe discomfort due to Herpangina’s symptoms. Following prevention guidelines and seeking prompt medical assistance will ensure a smooth healing process from this painful yet often uncomfortable condition.

Difference between HFMD and Herpangina

1. Causative Virus:

  • HFMD: Mostly caused by Coxsackievirus A16.
  • Herpangina: Primarily caused by group A Coxsackievirus but might include other strains.

2. Symptoms:

  • HFMD: Symptoms include fever, sore throat, painful mouth sores, and rashes or blisters on hands, feet, and sometimes buttocks.
  • Herpangina: Features fever, sore throat, painful swallowing, and small, painful ulcers or blisters at the back of the mouth or throat.

3. Age Group Affected:

  • HFMD: Commonly affects children under the age of 5.
  • Herpangina: More typical in children under the age of 10.

4. Location of Sores:

  • HFMD: Sores often appear in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet.
  • Herpangina: Ulcers or blisters are primarily found at the back of the mouth or throat.

5. Severity and Duration:

  • HFMD: Generally mild and resolves within a week or so.
  • Herpangina: Often more painful due to throat ulcers but also usually resolves within a week.

6. Treatment Approach:

  • HFMD: Focuses on symptomatic relief with hydration, rest, and over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Herpangina: Similar treatment approach but may require additional care if swallowing is severely affected.

7. Diagnostic Methods:

  • HFMD: Diagnosis through clinical symptoms and patient history, confirmed with lab tests.
  • Herpangina: Generally diagnosed based on physical examination and characteristic symptoms, with lab tests for confirmation.

Though HFMD and Herpangina share some similarities in causative viruses, age groups affected, and some overlapping symptoms, they are distinct in their specific symptoms, the location of sores, severity, diagnostic methods, and treatment approaches. Understanding these differences is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How many types of hand foot and mouth diseases are there?

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) can be caused by several viruses of the Enterovirus family; while technically there’s only one “type” of HFMD it could potentially have different manifestations which would vary both symptoms and severity levels; Here is an outline:

Coxsackievirus A16: This virus is one of the primary causes of HFMD among children, particularly when associated with more serious cases. Enterovirus 71 (EV71) can also lead to cases of HFMD; more serious ones have also been documented by Enterovirus 71 infection.

Other Coxsackie: Viruses Can Also Affect People With HFMD: Apart from Coxsackievirus A16, other Coxsackie A Viruses such as A16 can also lead to infections of this nature that result in symptoms similar to A16’s.

Other Enteroviruses: Additional forms of enteroviruses may contribute to HFMD symptoms and management; typically these remain consistent, though certain strains like EV71 may lead to more severe reactions or complications than usual.

Comparison chart between HFMD and Herpangina

Below is a comparison chart that outlines the differences between Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) and Herpangina:

Feature HFMD Herpangina
Causative Virus Coxsackievirus A16, EV71, other Coxsackie A viruses Group A Coxsackievirus, other enteroviruses
Symptoms Fever, sore throat, mouth sores, rash on hands & feet Fever, sore throat, painful swallowing, throat ulcers
Age Group Affected Mostly under age 5 Mostly under age 10
Location of Sores Mouth, hands, feet, sometimes buttocks Back of the mouth or throat
Severity and Duration Usually mild, resolves in a week or so Often more painful, resolves within a week
Treatment Approach Symptomatic relief with hydration, rest, pain relievers Similar, additional care if swallowing is affected
Diagnostic Methods Clinical symptoms, patient history, lab tests Physical examination, characteristic symptoms, lab tests

Similairty of HFMD and Herpangina

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) and Herpangina are separate illnesses yet share several similar traits; both conditions share certain features:

  • Causative Viruses: Both HFMD and Herpangina are caused by viruses in the Enterovirus family, including different strains of Coxsackievirus.
  • Age Group: Both illnesses affect young children. HFMD typically affects those under five, whereas Herpangina is most prevalent among those aged 10-20.
  • Symptoms: Both diseases often present with fever, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.Both infections often create discomfort in the mouth and throat area which makes both of them very similar in terms of symptoms.
  • Transmission: Both HFMD and Herpangina are highly contagious infections that spread via contact with infected saliva, respiratory droplets, feces or surfaces that have become contaminated with these infections.
  • Treatment Approach: Both HFMD and Herpangina can be treated symptomatically through rest, hydration, and over-the-counter painkillers; there’s no specific antiviral medicine that is effective against either condition.
  • Preventive Measures for Herpangina: Prevention guidelines for both Herpangina and HFMD involve routine handwashing, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, cleaning shared objects/surfaces regularly as well as regularly checking the vaccination status of family and community contacts.
  • Self-Limiting Properties: Both conditions usually resolve themselves within one to two weeks with proper care and management.

Although HFMD and Herpangina may share similarities, their symptoms (for instance the localized manifestations in HFMD such as sores and rashes in its case), severity, and diagnosis differ between each condition, making comparison useful, especially within pediatric care environments. Shared traits in terms of etiology transmission management make these comparisons relevant, providing useful data.


Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) and Herpangina are two viral illnesses with some similarities; yet each differs significantly in other aspects. While both illnesses are caused by viruses belonging to the Enterovirus genus- Coxsackievirus- they each affect different age groups with unique symptoms.

HFMD is caused mainly by Coxsackievirus A16 or occasionally other strains like EV71. It often strikes children under five and symptoms include fever, sore throat, mouth sores, and hand/foot rashes that quickly resolve themselves over time if treated early enough. Treatment often provides only short-term symptom relief while symptoms typically disappear within weeks or so of starting treatment.

Herpangina, caused by group A Coxsackievirus, typically affects children under 10, manifesting with high fever, sore throat, painful swallowing, and ulcers or blisters at the back of mouth or throat. Treatment resembles that for HFMD but additional care may be necessary if swallowing is affected.