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Pediatrics. 2011 Apr;127(4):e898-904. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-1497. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Risk factors for hand, foot, and mouth disease and herpangina and the preventive effect of hand-washing.

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Chinese Field Epidemiology Training Program, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China.



Hygiene and social distancing are recommended control measures for hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) and herpangina. However, empirical data to support this recommendation are limited.


During an outbreak of HFMD and herpangina due to infection by the human enterovirus 71, we defined a case as a vesicular papular rash on the hands, feet, buttocks, or oral mucosa and onset from April 30 to June 26, 2008. We selected 176 HFMD and herpangina case-children and a stratified random sample of 201 asymptomatic control-children; frequency matched according to residency status. We administered a questionnaire to the parents about their children's exposures and hygienic behaviors.


Risk factors for HFMD and herpangina included playing with neighborhood children (odds ratio [OR]: 11 [95% confidence interval (CI): 6.2-17]), visiting an outpatient clinic for another reason ≤ 1 week before onset (OR: 20 [95% CI: 5.0-88]), and community exposures to crowded places (OR: 7.3 [95% CI: 4.1-13]). By using a score summarizing responses to 4 hand-washing questions, we found that 50% of the case-children and 2.5% of control-children had a poor score of 1 to 3, whereas 12% of the case-children and 78% of control-children had a good score of ≥ 7 (OR: 0.00069 [95% CI: 0.0022-0.022]) after we adjusted for residency, age, and community exposures by using logistic regression.


Hand-washing by preschool-aged children and their caregivers had a significant protective effect against community-acquired HFMD and herpangina from the human enterovirus 71 infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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